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WHO Collaboration

IFFS and World Health Organization (WHO) Leaders Meet in Delhi
Linda Giudice, MD, PhD | IFFS President-elect

During the IFFS 22nd World Congress in Delhi in September 2016, IFFS Board members, led by 2013-2016 President Joe Leigh Simpson and 2016-19 President Richard Kennedy, had an unprecedented meeting with new leadership at the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Ian Askew, new Director of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, requested the meeting, which was arranged by Presidents Simpson and Kennedy. In addition to Dr. Askew, the new Coordinator of the WHO Human Reproduction Team, Dr. James Kiarie, and representatives from each of the current fertility/infertility-focused non-governmental organizations in official relations with WHO (now called “non-state actors” or NSAs) were invited and attended, including IFFS, ASRM, ICMART, and FIGO. ESHRE, currently in an unofficial NSA relationship with WHO, and funders who share common interests in the fertility space were also present. Drs. Askew and Kiarie emphasized their interest and strong support for IFFS, ASRM, FIGO, ICMART, the Population Council and ESHRE to work together and with WHO in the global fertility/infertility space, along with other key stakeholders. As your President-elect, I have been asked to lead this effort, and at the ASRM meeting in Salt Lake City in October 2016, we assembled the group to begin discussion about the goals of each organization broadly, where we have common ground, and sharing our WHO Plans of Work with each other. We also discussed frequency of upcoming meetings (scheduled teleconferences over the coming months), agenda setting, and moving forward together. We are off to a great start in building collaborations with our global partners, ensuring that we optimize our individual goals and also our collective goals and impact. We have an unprecedented opportunity at this moment in time to work together and with WHO, towards the aspirational goals of enabling evidence-based infertility evaluation, care, education and research, and promoting access to infertility care among women and men across the globe. We anticipate working hard over the next few months and meeting face to face again with WHO colleagues in Geneva in July 2017.

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