Fertility Network UK organise regular online chats via Skype about specific topics, and the next one on Monday 28th November at 7pm will consider adoption. The guest speaker is Pippa Bow, Lead Social Work Adviser at First 4 Adoption. Pippa’s talk will focus on the adoption process – the main criteria to become an adopter, what adoption agencies look for in prospective parents, the children who need families and their age range, timescales and the process for being approved as an adopter. Pippa’s talk will last for about half an hour followed by a question and answer session afterwards.
First4Adoption is the national information service for anyone interested in adopting a child in England. Even if you are not planning to opt for adoption, many couples have the thought in the back of their minds. This talk is your chance to find out more and to pick the brains of an adoption expert. If you would like to join the session, you just need to let Hannah know – email@example.com
It isn’t easy to go along to a group for the first time, and the very idea of a “support group” can sound off-putting. I think people often imagine something terribly gloomy and it can take courage to take the first step and commit to going to a meeting. In fact, most people who do get as far as going to a group tend to find it incredibly helpful. There’s something very empowering about being with other people who understand what it’s like to experience fertility problems, to share experiences and to learn from one another. People are often surprised at how upbeat and cheerful the groups can be. Of course, there is sadness sometimes but there is also a lot of laughter and many friendships are forged.
If you have a group near you, why not give it a try – and if you don’t, maybe you could think about setting one up yourself? You don’t need any special training as a group can be a simple matter of arranging a get-together at a local cafe. Those who have done this in the past have found it to be incredibly rewarding at many levels – you may be interested in this article by Fertility Network UK volunteer Ridhi Sahi about her experiences and you can find out more about volunteering as a support group organiser here.
It’s all too easy for those not affected to brush off the impact of fertility problems onpeople’s lives, but a new study from Fertility Network UK with Middlesex University London has come up with some bleak figures.
As Susan Seenan, Chief Executive of Fertility Network UK explains, “This survey paints an incredibly stark, distressing picture of what it is like to experience fertility problems in this country. Sadly, in the UK, the inability to have children without medical help means having to face a series of emotional, social and financial hurdles. These include often having to pay crippling amounts of money for your own medical treatment, a lack of affordable, accessible counselling and emotional support, and the deterioration of core relationships. Far more needs to be done to help individuals through the far-reaching devastation fertility issues wreak.”
Key findings include:
90 per cent of respondents reported feeling depressed; 42% suicidal
54% had to pay for some or all of their treatment; 10% spending more than £30,000 (the average was £11,378)
74% said their GP did not provide sufficient information
70% reported some detrimental effect on their relationship with their partner
75% noted the lack of a supportive workplace policy
75% would have liked to have counselling if it was free; only 44% did receive counselling and, of these, over half had to fund some of it themselves
National Fertility Awareness Week starts on Monday 31st October and runs through to Sunday 6th November 2016. It is your week and you can help Fertility Network UK to raise awareness during the week.
Fertility issues are all too often misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s common for media attention to be focused on stereotypes of fertility struggles: the 30 – or 40 – something career woman who’s left it too late; the against-the-odds IVF success story or the woman who’s apparently easily come to terms with childlessness – but this is far from the real picture.
During National Fertility Awareness Week, Fertility Network UK aims to highlight the unseen, intimate and day-to-day reality of fertility issues, to overturn commonly-held misconceptions about fertility and to shine a spotlight on untold fertility stories.
In the UK, 1 in 6 couples experience the pain fertility issues bring. Even if you don’t have direct experience, you probably know someone who does – a family member, friend or work colleague. We hope people will join in, raise funds and help change perceptions about fertility issues.’
The five focus areas for this year’s media campaign are:
The myth of the middle-aged would-be-mum: fertility issues in your 20s and early 30s
The truth about fertility treatment: we know that 75% of individual IVF cycles are unsuccessful and that most people who become parents after treatment go through more than one cycle. What is it like to face multiple rounds of treatment?
The hidden half: men are just as likely as women to suffer from fertility issues
Facing up to childlessness: coming to terms with childlessness is too often portrayed as a straightforward process when the reality is far from that
Life after successful IVF: the taboo of secondary infertility and can life as the parent of an IVF miracle ever be normal?
If you want to know more about fertility and live in Wales, you may be interested in a fertility information event organised by Fertility Network UK and sponsored by Darren Millar AM.
Held at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay on Saturday 19th November from 10.30am to 4pm, this free event will bring together fertility clinics, practitioners and support agencies from all over the UK and Europe.
There will be the opportunity to have an informal chat and to pick up information on clinical and donor treatment options; fertility counselling; alternative family options; male fertility and local support services
For more information please contact Alice – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are experiencing fertility problems and feeling lonely and isolated, I am sure you will find this video will resonate with you. The video is part of Fertility Network UK’s #HiddenFaces campaign for National Fertility Awareness Week and has been generating a lot of positive responses from people who know what it’s like to live with fertility problems. It was made by Jessica Hepburn, who is a trustee of the charity and an author – she writes a blog called after her book – The Pursuit of Motherhood – which is also worth looking at.
Jessica is an amazing woman who has swum the Channel to raise funds for Fertility Network UK and she is the brains behind the wonderful Fertility Fest which some of you may have been fortunate enough to attend in London or Birmingham earlier this year.
Thank you Jessica on behalf of everyone who knows what it is like not to be able to conceive, thank you for talking about something so personal and difficult, thank you for your courage and warmth and for all you do to raise awareness of something so many people find too difficult to talk about x
Fertility services in Lancashire are under threat with all eight Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups(CCGs) proposing cuts to NHS-funded IVF. They have a survey which you can complete to make your feelings known about this – it needs to be done by tomorrow, October 14 – http://tinyurl.com/Assisted-Conception-Services
You may also want to write to your MP, as this may help to ensure the CCGs realise that the guidance from NICE which they should be following is both clinically effective and cost effective. Fertility Network UK have a draft email you can use, and if you wish you can add details of your own personal situation which will help to explain to your MP why this is so important – if you are able to help them see how your fertility problems make a difference to you emotionally, financially and socially this will really help. You can find the draft letter which you may wish to email, half way down this webpage http://infertilitynetworkuk.com/nhs_funding_2
The MPs for the areas covered by the eight Lancashire CCGs are: NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG:
Kate Hollern MP
Jake Berry MP
Email: email@example.com NHS Blackpool CCG:
Paul Maynard MP
Gordon Marsden MP
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG:
Lindsay Hoyle MP
Seema Kennedy MP
Nigel Evans MP
Email: email@example.com NHS East Lancashire CCG:
Andrew Stephenson MP
Julie Cooper MP
Graham Jones MP
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NHS Fylde & Wyre CCG:
Paul Maynard MP
Cat Smith MP
Ben Wallace MP
Mark Menzies MP
Email: email@example.com NHS Greater Preston CCG:
Mark Hendrick MP
Seema Kennedy MP
Ben Wallace MP
Nigel Evans MP
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NHS Lancashire North CCG:
Cat Smith MP
Ben Wallace MP
Email: email@example.com NHS West Lancashire CCG:
Rosie Cooper MP
Seema Kennedy MP
Fertility Network UK is holding an online session on male fertility problems on 29th September at 8pm. The guest speaker is Dr Sheryl Homa, a clinical scientist and andrology specialist.
Sheryl’s talk will focus on male fertility problems and this will be followed by the usual Q & A session afterwards. The session will last for about 45 minutes. If you would like to join the group, you can email our to Hannah who will give you all the details firstname.lastname@example.org
If you missed it last night, the BBC TV programme on fertility presented by The One Show’s Alex Jones (and yes, it was on quite late!) is available to watch here and the BBC also has a good information page about getting pregnant at 35 plus which has links to some great factsheets on a variety of fertility-related issues from the British Fertility Society and the patient charity Fertility Network UK.
The programme is definitely worth watching – all too often media coverage of fertility is inaccurate or looks at extreme cases, but this managed to be balanced and interesting, covering the subject in a sensitive and empathetic way with lots of sensible advice.