IFFS-WHO Collaboration Plans

The WHO Board admitted IFFS into “official relations” with WHO, governed by the Framework of Engagement for Non-State Actors (FENSA). The basis of ”official relations” is a plan of collaboration between the WHO and the NSA with agreed upon objectives and activities for a 3 year period, free from profit-making or commercial concerns.

The 2019-2021 Plan for Collaboration between WHO and IFFS aims to align IFFS activities with WHO priorities. Specifically, the IFFS supports WHO’s efforts in the following:

  • Increasing knowledge and skills in reproductive health through educational activities
  • Increasing access to safe, cost-effective infertility care
  • Development of research capacity in infertility
  • Advocacy for infertility care and strategies that decrease the likelihood of infertility

Specific Areas of Collaboration between WHO and IFFS include:

  1. Support WHO towards dissemination of its work, findings and messages on global infertility
  2. Support WHO towards the dissemination and promotion of evidence-based clinical guidelines in infertility
  3. Support conduct of a global survey (IFFS Surveillance) of member states regarding adopting policies, statutes, regulation and ethical practices in relation to reproductive health and assisted conception treatments.

Our remit is broad covering diagnosing, counseling, and treating male and female infertility, and topics ranging from access to care, guidelines, safety, raising awareness about fertility needs, diseases that impact on reproductive health (fibroids and endometriosis, PCOS, STDs); inherited anomalies that impact reproduction; genetics; reproductive surgery; prevention; contraception; environmental impacts, premature ovarian failure and menopause, and optimizing preconception and pregnancy outcomes. We also have a major interest in training nurses, embryologists as well as doctors and those in training.

In our goal to disseminate information relevant to the WHO mission in reproductive health research, capacity building, policy making, IFFS submits an annual Plan of Collaboration progress report that is reviewed and approved by the WHO.

Some recent IFFS activities relevant to WHO goals include:

  • Successful submission of the IFFS-WHO Collaboration Plan 2019-2022
  • Participation at the annual WHO HRP Policy and Coordination Committee in Geneva
  • Participation and support of the WHO “Global Summit on Safety and Access to Fertility Care” (December 2017)
  • Participation at the WHO Symposium “Global Call to Action to Enhance Fertility Care” at the ASRM Scientific Congress and Expo in Philadelphia on 15 October, 2019
  • Membership in the Clinical Guidelines Steering Group developing the WHO Fertility Guidelines
  • Advocating for common fertility and endometriosis awareness and education goals, as well as plans to collaborate on topics of relevance for human fertility, namely effects of environment on human reproduction and procreation as a fundamental human right.


Below is a video of a lecture entitled “Infertility in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the WHO Global Program of Work”, which was given by Ian Askew, PhD on Thursday April 11, 2019 during the 2019 IFFS World Congress in Shanghai. Dr. Askew is the Director of the Department of Reproductive Health & Research at the World Health Organization.

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