Learn how Italy is promoting “More Joy” to enact policy change

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How can fertility societies around the globe utilize the More Joy campaign to support adoption of family-building policies in their countries? We spoke with Dr. Luca Gianaroli, IFFS’ director of education about the purpose of the More Joy campaign and what Italy is doing to improve access to fertility care. The campaign is based on recommendations in the IFFS consensus paper, “Declining global fertility rates and the implications for family planning and family building: an IFFS consensus document based on a narrative review of the literature.”

Dr. Gianaroli: The main purpose of the More Joy Campaign is to raise awareness about the fact that the decline in fertility rates is a global problem that affects all societies, although it may have different characteristics at a local level. For this reason, all stakeholders, including health care professionals, policymakers, companies, patients’ associations and the general public should team up to address this issue by facilitating family planning, family building and more affordable and equitable fertility care for those who need it.

Dr. Gianaroli: At the moment, we have been trying to share the campaign messages through the web and social media. In addition, the campaign was presented during a meeting held at the Italian Senate to assess the current state of ART (Advanced Reproductive Technology) in the country on the 20th anniversary of the law in the presence of the most prominent ART professionals and of officers from the Ministry of Health. A press release mentioning the campaign was issued. SIFES e MR, the Italian Fertility Society, was also involved. It will take time and effort to spread the campaign messages in an effective way, so we will continue doing so in the coming months whenever possible, and we will try to team up with other partners willing to collaborate on this project in different fields.

Dr. Gianaroli: Setting up meetings with policymakers on ART in Italy is not always easy, as unfortunately this is still quite a divisive subject. For this reason, most of them tend to ignore it or to take advantage of some of the most controversial issues. However, Italy is one of the countries with the lowest fertility rates in the world and the situation is constantly getting worse, so this problem will have to be addressed sooner or later. Being a leading scientific society, IFFS’ role is to raise awareness and provide reliable and accurate information and support dedicated strategies.

Dr. Gianaroli: Italy has a very peculiar situation regarding ART. In fact, between 2004 and 2014 our country had one of the most restrictive laws in the world. Health care professionals and patients have been filing several lawsuits to the Constitutional Court, which led to significant modifications such as the reintroduction of PGT and gamete donation. Despite this, what remains of this law and its coercive approach are still there. We call on politicians to abrogate this law and to implement a new one in line with technical and scientific development as well as good clinical practice principles. Furthermore, a decade of prohibitions [on infertility care], inevitably affected the perception of these techniques, so a massive education campaign for the general population to prevent infertility and to ensure access to care for those in need is much needed. Finally, forward-looking family planning and family building policies need to be implemented.

Dr. Gianaroli: First, to team up with IFFS, local scientific societies, patients’ associations and other stakeholders to speak with a louder voice. Second to be persistent and not give up: as previously mentioned, it will take time before our messages take root. Finally, to support scientifically all those who will take action to deal with the problems addressed by the campaign.

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