June is World Fertility Awareness Month!

Posted by Pam Madsen on June 19, 2009 in Fertility, Fertility Education, World Fertility Awareness Month · 0 Comments

Oh My Gosh. I had forgotten until my Google Alerts got set off. June is World Fertility Awareness Month (WorldFAM). In the Examiner.com a piece entitled “The Facts on Male Infertility” features World Fertility Awareness Month. It’s not a good sign when the creator forgets their own creation! How could I have forgotten all about the educational and awareness initative that was once so near and dear to my own heart? How does that happen? And it was so good to see my old friend appear in print again raising awareness this time of male infertility.

I had created World Fertility Awareness Month in the middle of the night when I was a Director of The International Consumer Support For Infertility (ICSI). My thought was that it would be great if we could have an international awareness tool for infertility. My vision was that everyone who wanted to participate in WorldFAM could. It would be free and accessible. We even created a new website for it – so that it would not be overly associated with The American Fertility Association. The point was to promote awareness of fertility around the world not The AFA and we wanted everyone to participate in it without feeling that they would be promoting the organization. So we took on the role of spearheading the initiative – but not owning it. The logo which is down loadable from website is free to anyone that wishes to use it to promote fertility awareness.

And for a while World Fertility Awareness Month was incredibly successful. To quote the website:

“World Fam is a year-round global educational and advocacy community comprising patient leaders and advocates, health care professionals and policy makers. Through the WorldFAM website, partners exchange ideas and information and provide mutual support for their endeavors to promote compassionate and enlightened policies around fertility and reproductive health.

World Fertility Awareness Month, celebrated each June, gives partner organizations the opportunity to hold events, using the WorldFAM annual theme to focus public attention on the key issues affecting the reproductive health and welfare of men and women in their countries. During World Fertility Awareness Month, partners meet face-to-face at an annual conference timed to coincide with ESHRE”.

I haven’t heard anything about WorldFAM since I left The American Fertility Association until now. We used to have more than 25 patient organizations around the world actively participating and holding events. Perhaps it is the economy – maybe there is not longer any funding for the program. I don’t even see any international patient summits being held this year. It is really sad. Those international patient organization meetings were incredible. Seeing what patient organizations created from Uganda to Korea.

It was such an amazing experience working with the patient organizations from around the world. We did such amazing work together including a study with Dr. Richard Scott as first author ( I was second!) on what women knew about fertility around the world. You can read about the finding of the study here. Together with The AFA – we worked with ten patient organizations from around the world – surveying over 17,000 women on what they knew about their fertility. How amazing is that?

When I think about the work I did at The AFA – I think that I am the most proud of my work on World Fertility Awareness Month – and that study. We truly made a global impact. It was an amazing time in my life, and I miss those incredible international patient leaders.

I flew over to the The AFA site to see if they were doing any ”June is World Fertility Awareness Month” promotions. There was no mention of WorldFAM that I could see, but the old website is still there filled with the resources that we developed during the height of that time. Some things just don’t continue on the way that they used to – but it wonderful that it is still there. And apparently a reporter found it – and picked it up!

Perhaps they are still actively celebrating WorldFam in The Netherlands or Uganda. I am going to check it out!

And if you want to do a WorldFam event – I do believe that all the informational kits are still available on the website. So check it out and contact The AFA. And remember – June is World Fertility Awareness Month!