The Danish-Swedish project ReproHigh was first to receive the new Oresund Award in December 2013, thanks to the project’s successful model for collaboration across disciplines and geographical borders. The long term goal is to provide accurate and effective prevention and treatment to all infertile couples in the Oresund Region who are actively seeking treatment.
ReproHigh, cofinanced by Interregfunds from EU, is an extension of a previous project, Reprosund, focusing on the underlying causes of infertility as well as evaluating possibility of harmonising investigation and treatments in the Oresund Region. Last year, ReproHigh signed an agreement with Region Skåne, southern Sweden, and Region Hovedstaden (the Capital Region of Denmark), now providing the opportunity for patients to apply for treatment in both countries.
Infertility affects up to 15 percent of couples of childbearing age in the Nordic countries.
“While researchers are seeking answers to why the infertility rate is so high in the region, we are also gaining an understanding of the underlying causes of the condition which in turn will lead us to new possible treatments”, says Professor Aleksander Giwercman, Coordinator of the Swedish part of ReproHigh.
Attracting top researchers
The region is already an international cluster of knowledge in reproductive medicine and current treatments are in many cases also effective. The Oresund Region is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed clinicians focusing on human infertility and their expertise will continue to attract top researchers and financial support to the region.
The ReproHigh team represents various different disciplines. Professor Aleksander Giwercman, Skåne University Hospital, is the initiator of the collaboration together with Professor Jens Sonksen from the Urological Department at Herlev Hospital in the Capital Region of Denmark.
“A combined Swedish-Danish collaboration expands the possibilities for reliable diagnoses and better treatments. Through interaction we are able to achieve even better effect when treating the less common and more specialized fertility diagnoses. Furthermore, our ambition is to create opportunities for fruitful triple helix collaboration between the regions, universities and the industry”, Giwercman explains.
ReproHigh also takes advantage of the increased patient mobility in the European Union. This also means that patients have an increased opportunity to benefit from the best available treatments in reproductive medicine.
“Patients in the region have access to world-leading expertise and this should also be the case in the future”, Aleksander Giwercman confirms. “Reproductive medicine is a highly competitive field where patients are willing to travel over longer distances to get their treatment. Therefore, we must remain competitive”.
The cooperation within ReproHigh secures not only the opportunities of the region to remain competitive and attractive for research, but also the long-term opportunities of the region to attract industrial support. The patients, and in the long run the economic growth of the Oresund Region, are the ones set to benefit most from the collaboration.