The International Fertility Education Initiative

The International Fertility Education Initiative (IFEI) is a multidisciplinary global collaboration dedicated to improving fertility awareness.

Mission

To increase fertility awareness in order to improve reproductive health and facilitate decision-making in family planning among adolescents, people of reproductive age, primary healthcare, education professionals, and policymakers through development, evaluation and dissemination of educational resources.
 

Strategic Goals

  1. Conduct research to generate evidence about people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility and family formation in different countries.
  2. Based on identified knowledge gaps and using co-design principles, develop educational resources for the public and health and education professionals.
  3. Evaluate the educational resources to establish their acceptability, salience, comprehensibility and effectiveness in improving knowledge.
  4. Promote the inclusion of fertility education in health and education policy and practice and advocate for a government sponsored fertility health education program in every country.

More information about our goals coming soon.

Contact

Joyce Harper 

Chair

Joyce Harper, [email protected]

   
 De Mouzon

Deputy chair

Jacques De Mouzon, [email protected]

   
 

Deputy chair 

Karin Hammarberg, [email protected]

Junior chair

Position available

Australia

Your Fertility, a government funded fertility and preconception health promotion program, was launched in 2011.  The program has two target audiences: people of reproductive age who want children now or in the future and health and education professionals.

The program is delivered by the Fertility Coalition which includes the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), Healthy Male, Jean Hailes for Women's Health, Global and Women's Health at Monash University, and The Robinson Research Institute at The University of Adelaide.

The Your Fertility website complies with the HON code standard for trustworthy health information and the content is produced in collaboration with medical, scientific, academic, health and wellbeing professionals, specialist organisations and with people who share their personal stories. The website has more than 4 million visits annually and offers a wide range of resources including interactive tools, videos, factsheets and news blogs.

Contact: Karin Hammarberg <[email protected]>

 

Belgium

In 2015, the Flemish government funded a website for preconception care for people who want to start a family and evidence-based information for health care providers (gezondzwangerworden.be). A new website, klaarvoorkinderen.be, was launched in 2020 as a response to low fertility awareness in the Flemish population. The website is an interactive tool in which people can make different choices and as a result of the process, tailored information is provided. In July 2020, a number of Belgian researchers in fertility were invited in the first online IFEI meeting. They gathered in a Belgian delegation: the Belgian Fertility Education Initiative (www.fertility-education.be) in order to implement the IFEI – objectives nationally. Since September 2021, they work on a fertility learning platform for pupils, teachers, health care providers and people at reproductive age. 

www.gezondzwangerworden.be
www.klaarvoorkinderen.be
Ben jij klaar voor kinderen? - YouTube

Contacts: Ilse Delbaere ([email protected]), Ana Rita, [email protected], Heidi Mertes ([email protected]), Michel De Vos ([email protected]), Marijke Merckx ([email protected])

 

Canada

Emily Koert assisted Dr. Judith Daniluk (primary investigator, funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research) to develop MyFertilityChoices.com, one of the first fertility education interventions internationally to be developed and tested. Visited by users from over 195 countries and over 500,000 page views from June 2012-January 2020. Site now offline due to funding completion.

Contact: Emily Koert ([email protected]).

 

Czech Republic

The national FEI committee developed Czech website www.mojereprodukcnizdravi.cz is dedicated to fertility education. Facts and myths about male/female reproductive health and conception are included as well as the psychological aspects of infertility. The website involves the translation of “9 facts” poster (+video) and link to the Czech version of the Fertility Europe quiz on reproductive health. The interactive blog with questions and answers section is to be launched. The website´s content was designed by a group of local medical experts (composed of gynecologists, IVF specialists, a urologist, andrologist, psychologist, clinical embryologist, and basic science researcher) and supported by national medical sociates. The website is promoted via clinical conference presentations  (introduced to primary healthcare providers) and media appearances (TV shows, press, podcasts).  

No surveys on reproduction health knowledge, and reproduction plans/attitudes have been undertaken so far.

Contacts: Lenka Soukal Libichová ([email protected]), Zuzana Holubcová ([email protected])

 

Denmark

In 2011, The Fertility Assessment and Counselling (FAC) clinic was opened at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen (and later other locations) to identify risks for infertility for healthy women and men. Several articles have examined its effectiveness and impact on fertility decisions.

Media campaigns from the Copenhagen municipalities has focused on raising awareness of age related fertility decline for women and men. Lone Schmidt (with assistance from Emily Koert) supervised two Public Health students’ study on young men’s attitudes towards the campaign.

A podcast on fertility awareness has been created by two Public Health students supervised by Lone Schmidt. Two groups of Masters students have examined young men’s attitudes towards the podcast and the IFEI’s fertility education poster (supervised by Lone Schmidt and Emily Koert). 

Søren Ziebe, Lone Schmidt and Randi Sylvest (with assistance from Emily Koert and others) are developing a science theatre-based educational intervention together with young adults and their teachers and a teaching-based intervention in collaboration with NGO Sex and Society as an integral part of their sexual education for young adults.

Contacts: Soren Ziebe [email protected], Lone Schmidt [email protected], Randi Sylvest [email protected], Emily Koert [email protected]

 

France

In 2019 the “ProtegeTaFertilite/Take care of your fertility” collective was formed with Nicolas Chevalier, Florence Lesourd and Nathalie Massin in collaboration with the infertile patient’s association Collectif BAMP! The collective has produced an Instagram campaign, sponsored by Merck, for the 18-24 years old, still ongoing and with evolution to 25-35y people. The collective has produced an animation https://youtu.be/fEpPxIlSoVY . Several animations are currently going online with experts and patients’ interviews. The Instagram account has reached 2179 active followers and posts are published every week.

Since 2018, we collaborate with Else consultants and Merck to promote information and prevention on (in)fertility for health professional and has produced a guide for general practitioner “Et si vous parliez fertilité?/What about talking fertility?”

In 2020, the SMR (Société de Médecine de la Reproduction) has performed a one-day thematic conference on “Prévenir l’Infertilité, Préserver la Fertilité/Prevent infertility, Preserve Fertility” for health professionals and policy makers.

In 2021, the Ministry of Health has launched a plan on fertility, infertility prevention, the aim of which being larger than the IFEI objective, but also including education, and to which we shall participate, and we hope to bring our international IFEI experience. Jacques de Mouzon as the president of SMR and “Collectif BAMP” have decided to launch the “Comité Francophone d’information sur la fertilité”.

Contacts: Valérie Blanchet ([email protected]), Jacques de Mouzon ([email protected]), Nathalie Massin ([email protected]) , Virginie Rio ([email protected]).

 

Greece

In 2020 “MyFertility” Initiative was formed in Greece. The multidisciplinary scientific committee is working towards the website along with securing funding for activities involving raising awareness on Fertility and Reproductive health enabling empowered informed choices.  Mara Simopoulou and Amelia Pantou have translated and promoted the Fertility Education Poster as well as the animation video “Your Fertility matters” produced by the UK Fertility Education Initiative. Along with core members of “MyFertility” and in close collaboration with Joyce Harper and UCL, we are conducting a nationwide quantitative and qualitative survey on women’s, men’s and teenagers attitudes and knowledge to fertility. Further activities include educational efforts to promote fertility awareness through delivering talks and reporting on data emerging from the research conducted.

Contacts: Mara Simopoulou [email protected], Amelia Pantou [email protected]

 

Japan

Since the government included the importance of fertility awareness and reproductive life-planning in the policy outline on the declining birth rate in 2015, they have revised the supplementary readers for high school students to teach fertility. Some local governments have implemented various initiatives to increase fertility awareness: e.g., comics, seminars, apps, subsidies for fertility check-ups.

In 2021, the basic policy for child and maternal health and child development first included preconception health and healthcare. Additionally, the new guideline for high school education that will be implemented in 2022 mentions preconception health.

We have conducted surveys on fertility knowledge of the reproductive-aged population and measured short-term and long-term educational effects using official information brochures.

Contacts:  Eri Maeda ([email protected]), Yutaka Osuga ([email protected])

 

Portugal

In 2016, Juliana Pedro and Mariana Martins developed and tested two educational videos regarding fertility awareness that are presented at the Portuguese Health Library: Video on Fertility Education and Video on fertile window.

In 2017, Mariana Moura Ramos and Teresa Almeida Santos developed the Portuguese nationwide campaign and website Take care of your fertility sponsored by the Portuguese Society for Reproductive Medicine. A website with information on fertility preservation was also developed.

Our main research activities have been focused on investigating fertility awareness among Portuguese people of reproductive age and their fertility intentions and intentions to adopt fertility-protective behaviours and developing and testing the efficacy of educational materials providing information regarding fertility in general and diminished ovarian reserve.

Contacts: Juliana Pedro ([email protected]; [email protected]), Mariana Moura-Ramos ([email protected]), Mariana Martins, Alexandra Carvalho, Teresa Almeida-Santos

 

Sweden

Fertility awareness, pregnancy planning and reproductive life plan has been a solid part of the Swedish research teams curriculum on preconception health and care for over a decade.

In 2010, Prof emerita Tanja Tydén initiated the PrePreg Network, an international research network to increase fertility awareness and improve health promoting behavior in relation to pregnancy planning.

Our main research activities has covered attitudes to future parenthood, pregnancy planning, examinations on health and lifestyle habits prior to, during and after pregnancy (among native and foreign-born women in several countries), development of a needs assessment instrument for women and men/partners with desire for children and several evaluations of the preconception consultation instrument, the ‘Reproductive Life Plan’.

A website ‘reproduktivlivsplan.se’, https://www.reproduktivlivsplan.se/en/reproductive-life-plan/ , was launched in 2016, as part of a research project with the over all aim to increase young people’s knowledge on the impact of age and lifestyle habits on fertility. The website contains evidence based information in several languages, regardless of whether one wants to have children or not. Target groups are people of reproductive age and/or health professionals that can use the website during counselling. 

The reproductive life plan is continuosly disseminated in various forms and is also an established counselling tool among Swedish midwives during i.e. contraceptive councelling.

Contact: [email protected][email protected]

 

UK

In 2016, Adam Balen, Joyce Harper and Jacky Boivin established the UK Fertility Education Initiative (www.fertilityed.uk). The initiative was key in ensuring that fertility education was included in the UK curriculum in 2019.

The initiative has produced two animations:

Your fertility matters - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETwDCKBaYd4

Fertility technologies, shaping modern families - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOi08g3CLOc&t=7s

Jacky Boivin has produced the UK fertility education brochure “A Guide to Fertility” and Fertility Status Awareness Tool (FertiSTAT) for self-assessment of reproductive risk. Joyce Harper has written a book, Your Fertile Years, published in 2021 and has recently completed surveys of childless men and women, and men and women’s attitudes and knowledge to fertility. In 2021/22 Joyce is conducting a survey of 16-18 year olds attitudes and knowledge to fertility and is giving lectures on fertility in UK schools. Bola Grace has done surveys and in-depth interviews exploring fertility awareness.

Contacts: Adam Balen, [email protected], Joyce Harper [email protected], Jacky Boivin [email protected], Bola Grace [email protected]

 

IFEI commentary:

Joyce Harper, Karin Hammarberg, Mara Simopoulou, Emily Koert, Juliana Pedro, Nathalie Massin, Adam Balen (2021) The International Fertility Education Initiative: Research and action to improve fertility awareness, Human Reproduction Open https://academic.oup.com/hropen/article/2021/4/hoab031/6357711