Science and demographic data suggest that soon 10% of the population born in Europe will be the result of assisted reproduction techniques (ART), and about half of the population that wishes to have children will go to specialized centers. Therefore, Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) plays a significant role in the reproductive health of European society and is a fast-growing part of the health industry. Surprisingly, nobody has worried about how young people understand, react to and interact with Reproduction technologies. The human reproduction is presented as a privileged confluence between science, industry, government, and citizens. In this context, “B2-InF – Giving voice to citizens towards improving Assisted Reproduction Technologies for Society” will help to understand the evolution of reproductive science and society in order to promote proactive and anticipatory policy making, and align research developments with the needs, expectations and values of society.

B2-InF will seek to answer two questions: (1) How do young people perceive and think about ART? (2) How can ART clinics better align their research, services, and information with the views, concerns and expectations of citizens? By answering these questions, B2-InF aims to promote public participation in the science and provision of ART so that these become more responsive to the needs and concerns of society.

The project will be carried out in three stages. In the first stage, data is collected about perceptions and awareness of ART in young populations and the information offered by clinics to their clients through a number of structured interviews.  In the second stage, this data is analysed from sociocultural, legal and gender perspectives to detect misalignments and other weak points and to determine ways of improving the information offered by clinics. The third stage will focus on dissemination of the findings. Based on this analysis, the project will reach the following goals:

  • Give voice to social needs that are actually felt by citizens and strive for socially desirable outcomes concerning fertility treatments.
  • Test an innovative co-creation methodology that bridges research communities with the wider public in ART, with the capacity to align research developments with the needs, expectations and values of society.
  • Co-design with stakeholders a roadmap that identifies concrete research goals needed to make ART better aligned with the needs, expectations and values of society.
  • Provide information to policymakers responsible for the legal conditions of ART, allowing them to create legislation in line with the citizens’ needs and expectations.
  • Collect, analyse and transfer social scientific knowledge, expectations, and concerns about ART to clinics.

B2-InF proposes an integrated research methodology to be carried out in eight European countries, including several underrepresented countries of Eastern Europe: Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Macedonia, Albania, Slovenia and Kosovo. The project is designed to work bottom-up, moving from citizens to scientists and policymakers, and will provide much-needed empirical data about the representation of ART in society, allowing for a better fit between the provision of ART and its legal and sociocultural environments.

The main result that the B2-InF consortium would like to achieve is the development of national and international guides with concrete and practical guidelines to significantly improve ART for the European society of tomorrow.