Press Releases

Facilitating Universal Access to Reproductive Health

ROME, October 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Helping infertile women become pregnant and fertile women avoid unintended pregnancies are two sides of the same coin: reproductive health. As defined by the WHO: "Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so".

FIGO, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is involved in both the areas: infertility and contraception. FIGO2012 Congress in Rome, Italy, staged two major occurrences: the presentation of the "FIGO Fertility Tool Box[TM]" and the third edition of the "Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Medical and Service Delivery Guidelines".

The Fertility Tool Box[TM] ( is an instrument focused on alleviating the burden of infertility. "When developing it we decided to work within the range of generalist obstetricians and gynecologists and down to midwives, taking into account the sensitivities with respect to culture, religion, politics and economics," Professor David Adamson, Chair of the FIGO Committee for Reproductive Medicine, said.

The Tool Box™ is simple and flexible. It consists of 6 components dealing with overcoming personal and societal barriers to infertility care, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, plus the Fertility Daisy™. The Fertility Daisy™ deals with why one should care about infertility. "Infertility, specifically in low resource settings, is important and its management justified by the positive impact on quality of life, non-discrimination, family planning, prevention of sexually-transmitted infections, affordability - each petal of the daisy symbolising one item. It is hoped that this tool will be used to increase access to quality, cost-effective infertility prevention and management", Professor Adamson said.

"Emergency contraception guidelines were created by the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception in 2000. The 2012 - third - edition is endorsed by FIGO", Professor Ian Fraser, Honorary Secretary of FIGO, explained.

"Despite the availability of effective methods of contraception, many pregnancies are mistimed or unwanted and may carry a high risk of morbidity and mortality, particularly in settings where safe abortion is not accessible. Many of these unintended pregnancies can be avoided using emergency contraception. Furthermore, emergency contraception provides a sense of security for those women who have experienced the life-changing trauma of sexual assault," he said.

"The guidelines reflect the latest evidence and are intended to assist family planning programmes and providers in assuring that the women they serve can use emergency contraceptive pills effectively and safely," he added.