If there are plans afoot in your local area to reduce the number of IVF cycles offered to those who need treatment, or even to cut treatment altogether, you may be left wondering whether there is anything you can do to make a difference. Although there are sometimes public consultations when funding is due to be cut or reduced, it can be tough to have the confidence to put forward your point of view – and sometimes it may start to seem as if there is very little point anyway as people wonder whether those who commission treatment are really listening.
This excellent piece from Bionews written by Richard Clothier tells how he fought back against planned cuts to fertility treatment in his local area. It’s a great read – and you may be surprised by the outcome.
There has been a lot of debate on the subject of fertility education and whether it would be helpful for young people to know more about their future fertility. Having come across so many people who’ve told me they wished they’d known more and would have made different decisions if they’d realised how rapidly their fertility could decline, I’ve always been very much in favour of more fertility education. It can be part of a more general fertility awareness to ensure young people know more about their bodies than my generation did.
All too often, there are warnings that this might just lead to anxiety for young people who already have enough to worry about which is why this article from the online newsletter Bionews written by a young woman is particularly important. It’s interesting, well-written and worth a read.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you will doubtless have been told of all kinds of things which may improve your fertility from super foods to supplements to lifestyle changes. If low-dose aspirin is something you’ve considered or been recommended either to improve fertility or increase the chances of IVF success, you may be interested in this commentary from Bionews written by Richard Kennedy, the President-Elect of the International Federation of Fertility Societies.
He analyses all the latest research in this field and concludes that “the routine use of aspirin is not recommended to help couples conceive, either naturally or as an adjunct to improve the success of assisted conception”.
I’m delighted that the HFEA Chair Professor Lisa Jardine has taken to the online pages of BioNews to clarify that the decision to remove the possible sanctions for clinics which breach the multiple births target doesn’t mean a change of heart on the policy itself.
There appeared to be a complete misunderstanding of what was actually going on in much of the coverage at the time as it was widely reported that clinics would no longer be expected to continue to reduce multiple births – which isn’t the case at all. As Lisa Jardine explains, the reasoning behind the change came after two years of legal wranglings with just two fertility clinics who argued against the licence condition that no more than 10% of their births should be multiples. It was felt that it would be wrong to continue to spend large sums of money fighting the challenge in the courts, and that it was also unfair to all the other clinics that just two of them should be treated differently.
In fact, the One at a Time policy has been very successful, with an overall reduction in the multiple birth rate after fertility treatment down from 24% to 16%. Successful clinics are heading towards the 10% rate now set as a target by the HFEA.
It’s fertility patients who can help push things in the right direction, by asking clinics about their multiple rate or checking this on the HFEA website – and by continuing to remember that a clinic with a high multiple rate should set alarm bells ringing. A really good fertility clinic will have a good success rate and a low multiple pregnancy rate, while a clinic with a high multiple rate is not focused on the future health of patients and their children.
You can read what Professor Lisa Jardine had to say here