Support for South Asian women

images-2If you are from a South Asian background and experiencing difficulties getting pregnant, there’s a group in London just for you. A new Infertility Network UK group is being set up in London for Asian women. It will be a friendly and informal group, which will be open to all. For more information please contact Anita at asianfertilitygroup1@gmail.com

Does your fertility app really work?

751px-A_Japanese_woman_with_a_mobile_phoneIf you’ve been using an app or website to help to predict when you are at your most fertile during the month, you may be interested to know that apparently these are often inaccurate. New research from the United States looked at 33 apps and 20 websites and found that just one of the websites and three of the apps could accurately predict the exact fertile window.

Apparently the length of the fertile window they predicted was quite variable with a majority of apps and websites including days after ovulation despite the fact that conception is unlikely to happen at that point in a woman’s cycle.

You can read more about it here and here

 

Why everyone working in a clinic needs a theatre trip…

The Quiet HouseSo it seems that three London fertility clinics have decided they’re going to take all their staff to London’s Park Theatre to see Gareth Farr’s brilliant new play The Quiet House. It might seem surprising – surely clinic staff know all they need to about IVF? – and yet what’s so great about the play is that it shows the side of IVF they don’t usually see.

The Quiet House is not about what goes on inside the clinic but about what happens at home during an IVF cycle. It’s about dealing with friends with babies, about balancing the demands of work, about doing the daily injections and managing the huge emotional highs and lows of a treatment cycle.

You don’t need a personal interest in fertility treatment or any professional knowledge to appreciate The Quiet House, but for those who work in clinics it is clear that this can be a beneficial learning experience as well as a deeply moving one.

Hooray for Scotland!

Flag_of_Scotland.svgWhen news about fertility funding seems to focus on cuts and dwindling services here in England, the Scottish government has to be applauded – and loudly – for moving in the opposite direction, announcing plans today to fund three full cycles of IVF treatment for eligible couples. What’s more, couples will be eligible for the first time if one of them has a child from a previous relationship. The changes will be introduced gradually, but it’s still wonderful news that the Scottish government is able to offer such positive support to those with fertility problems.

Infertility Network UK’s Chief Executive Susan Seenan, who is also Co-Chair of Fertility Fairness, commented on the news saying, ‘Scotland continues to lead the way in providing equitable fertility treatment. The Scottish government brought in equity of provision in 2013 and is now committing to delivering the full clinically recommended 3 IVF cycles (for eligible women aged 40 and under). In addition, it is relaxing current access criteria and will offer fertility treatment to couples where one partner has no biological child. This increase in access to medical treatment is fantastic news for people in Scotland affected by fertility problems and we commend the Scottish Government for both recognising the importance of treating this medical condition and backing it up with action.”

Go and see this….

The Quiet HouseI’ve been to see Gareth Farr’s play The Quiet House at the Park Theatre in London this evening about a couple going through fertility treatment. It’s the story of Jess and Dylan and their longing for a baby and it is one of the most moving portrayals of IVF I’ve ever seen.

It’s a long time since my last cycle, yet The Quiet House took me instantly spinning back to a place I will never forget. Michelle Bonnard is just extraordinary as Jess, and the relationship between her and her partner Dylan (Oliver Lansley) as they go through their treatment is so true to life. The drugs, the injections, the raw feelings, hopes and fears are all portrayed here in a compelling story and it’s the small details that are so spot on; the way Jess talks to her unborn child, the icy chill of seeing a single magpie…

The upstairs neighbour, Kim (Allyson Ava Brown) who is struggling with her small baby provides a poignant contrast, and Dylan’s boss Tony (Tom Walker) highlights the way fertility problems and treatment affect every aspect of your life. At one point, I had tears streaming down my face and was trying to wipe them away discretely when I realised  that all around me people were wiping tears from their cheeks.

If you are in London over the next month, go and see The Quiet House which is on at the Park Theatre until July 9 – it’s emotional, it’s powerful and it’s an extraordinary play.

Have you been affected by miscarriage?

If you have been affected by miscarriage, would you be able to help by completing a survey about priority setting around miscarriage? The link to the survey itself is here but if you are interested in reading more about it, this may be helpful from one of the lay members who has been sitting on the group leading the project.  The aim is to improve the care and treatment for women who experience miscarriage and those affected by it, and to set the priorities for research that will make the biggest difference.

Woman who have had a miscarriage themselves and their partners, family members, friends and colleagues are invited to complete the survey along with professionals involved  in caring for women who have experienced miscarriage and professional bodies, patient groups, charities and other organisations involved with miscarriage.

Yet another consultation…

800px-Woman-typing-on-laptopIf you are in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a public consultation to find out what local people think about fertility services.  The local trust which was providing fertility treatment told the CCG they were unable to continue to offer fertility services, so they are consulting local people on their views for the future.

This consultation is looking at where and how the service can be delivered and if you are a local fertility patient, you will probably have some views on this so do make them known by reading the document here and following the links for comments.

Cambridgeshire cuts IVF funding

4cell_embryo.tif More cuts to fertility treatment – this time in Cambridgeshire where commissioners have decided to cut funding for IVF to just one cycle. NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends three full cycles of IVF treatment and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG had only been offering two before this decision but will now reduce that to just one.

Susan Seenan, who is Co-Chair of Fertility Fairness and Chief Executive of the patient support charity Infertility Network UK said that they had not been aware of any tpublic consultation before the commissioners took the decision to cut funding.

Apparently anyone who had already been referred for treatment will not be affected by these changes which will cause huge distress and disappointment to many people who are experiencing fertility problems in the area.

 

Getting pregnant at 49 – how it really happens…

120px-Pregnancy_test_resultWe’ve all seen the stories about babies born to celebrities in their late forties – or even fifties – with no mention of how they got pregnant. It can make it seem as if having a baby at an age when most women are on the verge of the menopause is effortless when in fact the celebrities concerned will almost certainly have used donor eggs in order to conceive.

Now Sonia Kruger has spoken out about this – and I admit, I hadn’t heard of her, but apparently she is an Australian television presenter who hosts Big Brother and is described by the Mail as a ” fashionable 49-year-old” (because of course not many 49 year olds are “fashionable”….). Responding to a magazine headline which referred to her “miracle pregnancy”, she has gone public about her history of fertility problems, miscarriage and the fact that she was told by doctors that for any woman over the age of 45 the chance of IVF success using their own eggs was zero. She says her pregnancy is  “science, not a miracle” and has been open about the fact that she needed donor eggs in order to get pregnant.

You can read more here and here

 

Can you help to stop fertility services being cut in Beds?

ivf_science-300x168The group who commission health services in Bedfordshire are consulting on whether to cut NHS fertility services entirely. It’s really important that patients should complete the consultation questionnaire if you want to help to try to stop this happening. The questionnaire needs to be filled in before July 24 and you can find the consultation here https://www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/page/?id=4958

If you live in the area, do write to your local MP too and ask them to help prevent fertility care being cut altogether in the area. There is more information on the Fertility Fairness website and relevant contact details are
Richard Fuller MP (Bedford) richard.fuller.mp@parliament.uk
Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP (North East Bedfordshire) alistair.burt.mp@parliament.uk / nebca@northeastbedsconservatives.com
Nadine Dorries MP (Mid Bedfordshire) dorriesn@parliament.uk
Andrew Selous MP (South West Bedfordshire) andrew.selous.mp@parliament.uk