The Finnish Infertility Association Simpukka
The name of our association, Simpukka (‘shell’), is derived from the way that people experiencing infertility often isolate themselves in their sorrow and draw into a shell. The Simpukka Association was founded in 1988 and it is the only Finnish patient support organisation for those affected by fertility problems. Currently, Simpukka has approximately 1300 members.
Simpukka reaches out to couples and individuals in many situations: those who are still wondering whether they have a fertility problem, those who are undergoing infertility treatments, those considering adoption or foster care and those who have decided to continue without children. Its members also include those who have become parents – either through assisted conception, adoption or some other means.
Simpukka offers the following services to its members:
- the Simpukka magazine, published four times per year, is the only magazine in Finland that concentrates on topics dealing with infertility
- information about infertility treatments
- members’ meetings, and educational seminars and lectures about issues related to infertility
- a nationwide network of support groups
Simpukka coordinates activities related to the national infertility awareness day in May (Saturday before Mothers’ day) during the Simpukka-week, and participates in organising other special events.
Simpukka seeks to promote the interests of its members by raising public awareness of infertility. It cooperates with health professionals, adoption agencies, therapists and other interest groups.
The new Finnish law on assisted reproduction
The first IVF baby in Finland was born in 1984. Nevertheless, it was only in 2007 that a law on assisted reproduction was passed in the Finnish Parliament. The previous attempts at implementing a law failed mainly due to disagreements about the provision of fertility treatments to lesbian couples and the prospective child’s right to learn the identity of the donor.
Summary of the main points
- The new law allows the use of donor eggs, donor sperm, and donor embryos. It does not permit surrogacy.
- The law imposes the identity registration of gamete donors. The prospective child has the right to learn the identity of the donor at the age of eighteen.
- The law allows the treatment of lesbian couples and single women.
- There is no upper age limit for receiving fertility treatments.
Reactions to the law
Generally speaking, the new law has been positively received. The following issues have raised discussion:
- With the identity registration, the number of gamete donors has decreased noticeably and recruiting gamete donors has become more difficult. Will this lead to reproductive tourism?
- Will the parents of the donor-conceived child keep the child’s biological origin secret as they are afraid of how it might affect the child?
- There was no transition period: when the law became effective in September of 2007, the existing anonymous donor gametes and donor embryos cannot be utilised anymore.
You can find links to other international associations in here.
In case you want to contact to the association, please do not hesitate to write or call to our employees:
Johanna Repo, Chief Executive
Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Association secretary