Arts @ ESHRE 2019

Connecting with the lived experience of the fertility patient

In 2019 ESHRE is delighted to be welcoming back Fertility Fest ( – the world’s first arts festival dedicated to fertility, infertility the science of making babies and modern families.

Founded in 2016 by Jessica Hepburn and Gabby Vautier - professional arts producers and former IVF patients - the festival’s work has already gained an international profile and is making a major impact on the field of fertility. It brings together leading artists from around the world with fertility experts, patients and the public to achieve three important aims - to advance fertility education; to raise public conversation about all aspects of infertility and reproductive science; and to improve understanding and mental health care for people struggling or going on a complex journey to conceive.

At ESHRE Vienna 2019, Fertility Fest will be presenting the work of eight international artists whose moving and thought-provoking work is designed to help delegates connect at a profound level with the lived experience of the fertility patient. A visual arts exhibition and film screenings will be accompanied by a programme of stimulating talks and discussions from Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th June which aim to ensure that patients and professionals are working more closely together to ensure the best outcomes for everyone whatever their fertility story, however it ends.

For more details see:

The Artists

Dee Harvey


Dee Harvey is the co-writer and director of IF - one of the first ever virtual reality film dramas about the experience of infertility. Drawn from interviews with men and women who have been on a fertility journey, it tells the fictional story of Claudia and Josh, a married couple who decide to go for IVF treatment when their hopes of naturally conceiving fail. With their finances, relationship and bodies put under a microscope, they discover if their love is enough to carry them through.

IF stars Kerry Gooerson & Simon Lyshon; written by Nirpal Bhogal, Katie Boyles & Dee Harvey; directed by Dee Harvey; and produced by Chi Thai. Funded by Google, You Tube, BFI and Northern Irish Screen.

We will be screening IF throughout the conference – come and book a slot on the virtual reality headsets. 

Faye Glen

Faye Glen headshot Faye Glen artwork Suture I

British artist Faye graduated from art college as a mature student in 2018, achieving a first class honours for a body of paintings and sculptural work that explored themes of female identity, infertility and maternal loss.

Since a young age Faye knew that achieving motherhood was going to be a challenge for her, however she was encouraged to believe that embarking on IVF would offer her the family that she had always dreamed of. After five years of unsuccessful treatment, it was time to let go. Focusing on the positive, she channelled that energy into her art practice and will be exhibiting two of her visceral sculptural pieces and talking about the work that has inspired her healing process.

For more details see: 

Elis Mathews

Elis Matthews is a vicar who lives in London. Known to Fertility Fest audiences as ‘The Rapping Reverend’, he is also a writer and performer of poetry and co-writes the blog ‘Saltwater and Honey’ which combines stories of infertility and faith. After being diagnosed with Azoospermia, Elis started writing about his experiences and his journey to fatherhood through donor conception. He is passionate about Jesus, words that rhyme and big tub yoghurt pots!

For more details see:

Gertraud Klemm

Gertraud Klemm_by Pamela Rumann

Viennese writer Gertraud Klemm will be reading from and discussing her autobiographic book Muttergehause (published in 2016) which looks at involuntary childlessness and adoption.

Getraud Klemm was born in 1971 in Vienna and lives in the city with her husband and their two adopted sons from South Africa. After her university degree in biology she worked as a consultant, examining drinking water, for the Council of Vienna, before she started writing. Since then she has won several literary prizes and scholarships including the Public’s Choice Award of the Ingeborg Bachmann competition (2014) as well as being shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Literature (2015). Her past novels include Erbsenzählen, (2017) and Aberland (2015) and her newest novel Hippocampus will be published by Kremayr & Scheriau in August 2019.

For more details see:

Maria Arlamovsky


Maria Arlamovsky, the Vienna-based director of the 2016 film Future Baby will be talking about her reasons for making the documentary, what she learnt from it and the reactions she’s had from around the world. A brilliant and detailed film which sheds light on the complex field of reproductive science from different perspectives, Maria visited scientists, doctor, academics and patients including egg donors and surrogate mothers and the first generation of artificially begotten children. Through this she offers an unparalleled exploration of the achievements and advances as well as the complexity and consequences of reproductive science and explores what it means for future society when biological boundaries dissolve and technology inscribes itself into the origin of life, ultimately asking the question – is there a right to children at any price?

For more details see:

Heidi Barkun

Canadian artist Heidi Barkun explores constructions of identity through a transdisciplinary art practice, seen through a feminist and scientific lens. The focus on infertility in her recent work follows six years of failed attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF). Heidi has exhibited her artworks in Canada, the United States, South America, and Europe. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Visual & Media Arts and Feminist Studies at Université du Québec à Montréal, where she received numerous scholarships for her art and research into infertility and IVF failure.

In the textile work Unnamed, fragments of used baby clothes are sewn together as imagined scientific constructions of seven embryos created in the lab during Heidi’s five failed cycles of in vitro fertilization. Erratic red stitches join protruding pieces of footed pyjamas, cotton onesies, terrycloth bath towels, and printed caps. These Frankenstein-like creatures, secured to the wall with dissection pins, exteriorize the seeds that failed intrauterine implantation.

For more details see:

Studio Job, Joris & Marieke

Job Joris  Marieke 2018c

Marieke Blaauw - Founder of the Academy award nominated Dutch animation studio Job Joris & Marieke - will be talking about and presenting their short film Otto – which tells the story of an involuntary childless woman and her imaginary child.

Job, Joris & Marieke was founded in 2007 by Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins and Marieke Blaauw. In 2015 their short film A Single Life was nominated for an Academy Award® in the category best animated short. In 2017 their short film Otto was nominated for a Rockie Award. And in 2018 their short film Kop Op (Heads Together) was nominated for the Prix de Jeunesse, a Rockie Award and won an International Emmy Kids Award. Altogether their films and music videos won over 75 awards and were screened at more than 300 film festivals worldwide.

For more details see:

Tabitha Moses

Tabitha Moses Investment artist in residence_c

The UK’s Liverpool prize-winning artist Tabitha Moses is the creator of an extensive collection of beautiful work on fertility, infertility and IVF including including In Vitro; Investment; and On Food and Longing. At ESHRE she will be displaying and talking about Investment her a series of embroidered hospital gowns and photographic portraits made in collaboration with the photographer Jon Barraclough, one of which was recently purchased by the British Science Museum for their national collection. For this beautiful series of works Tabitha drew on her own and others experience of IVF to explore the medical processes and personal beliefs surrounding infertility and its treatment, shedding light on the hope, happiness and pain that infertility and IVF brings.

For more details see: