Concern as IVF funding still not in place

funding

Despite the official government announcement last year that €1 million would be allocated for public IVF funding, these funds have still not been released. Those awaiting the much-needed financial and legal supports around assisted reproduction, as promised by the then Health Minister Leo Varadkar three years ago, continue to face uncertainty about when these funds will be made available and what criteria will be required to qualify for assistance.

The Government approved the IVF financial aid plans in October 2017 and a specific €1m fund was then announced by the Taoiseach last December.

In a statement, the Department of Health said a model of care for infertility, tied to long-awaited assisted human reproduction (AHR) legislation and the provision of financial assistance, was still being worked on by officials.

MFC continue to advocate for public funding of IVF for all Irish patients.

To read the Irish Examiner article, please see below:

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/concern-as-ivf-funding-still-not-in-place-922418.html

HFEA report (May 9th 2019): “IVF more popular, successful and safer than ever but reasons for treatment are changing”

HFEA

The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority has just released its latest report on trends and figures in fertility treatment. Their findings have been welcomed by the British Fertility Society, who highlight the increased uptake of fertility treatment, improved success rates and confirmation that “IVF remains a safe and effective approach to address fertility issues”. Figures in the report also show that multiple births, the single biggest health risk from IVF, has now reached an all-time low of 10%, a sharp decline from 24% in 2008.

Other key highlights from the report include:

  • in 2017, more than 54,000 patients underwent around 75,000 fertility treatments in the U.K, with IVF treatment cycles increasing by 2.5% since 2016 and resulting in over 20,500 babies being born.
  • the average birth rate for women of all ages using their own eggs reaching 22%, while women under 35 using their own eggs have the highest birth rates (30% – fresh embryo cycle, 27% – frozen embryo cycle.
  • the fastest growing fertility treatment type is egg freezing, which has increased by 10% since 2016 to 1,463 cycles in 2017.
  • frozen embryo treatment cycle success rates (23%) have overtaken fresh embryo cycle success rates (22%) for the first time since records began, indicating that freezing embryos can give as much chance of success as a fresh cycle.

To read the HFEA press release and access the report, please follow the link below:

https://www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/news-and-press-releases/2019-news-and-press-releases/ivf-more-popular-successful-and-safer-than-ever-but-reasons-for-treatment-are-changing/

For the British Fertility Society response to the HFEA report on trends and figures in fertility treatment, please follow the link below:

https://www.britishfertilitysociety.org.uk/2019/05/09/bfs-welcomes-latest-hfea-trends-report/

 

Boosting male fertility

Male Fertility

In at least 50% of cases of male factor infertility, the cause is unknown. A number of lifestyle factors have been shown to affect male fertility. These include diet and nutrition, body weight, levels of exercise, stress and use of tobacco and drugs. Tackling obesity, improving your diet and incorporating moderate-intensity aerobic exercise into your daily life can boost fertility, improve chances of conception, and allow you to be proactive about your role in conceiving a baby.  To read more please follow the link below:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/25/health/male-infertility-food-drayer/index.html

18th World Congress of the Academy of Human Reproduction 2019

Merrion Fertility Clinic were delighted to participate in the 18th World Congress of the Academy of Human Reproduction, held in the Convention Centre Dublin on April 3-6th.

MFC research was high on the agenda, with invited talks by both Prof. Wingfield and Dr. Allen, as well as six research presentations by clinical fellows Dr. Hartigan, Dr. Crosby and research officer Dr. Glover.

Congratulations to all!

https://hr2019.humanrepacademy.org/

HFEA rating system for expensive “add ons”

Expensive Add-ons

A recent article in the Sunday Times has revealed that expensive ‘add-on’ treatments are still being offered by a number of Irish fertility clinics.

Despite recommendations by the U.K. Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which highlights the alarming lack of evidence for benefit and safety of such treatments, some private fertility clinics have persisted in advertising and providing them to patients. To guide and inform fertility patients, the HFEA have developed a rating system for the most commonly offered add-ons: https://www.hfea.gov.uk/treatments/explore-all-treatments/treatment-add-ons/

The HFEA has also called for clinics to be more transparent about treatment costs and how likely these are to actually increase the chance of having a baby.

To read this Times article, please see below:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/ill-conceived-treatments-at-fertility-clinics-00ht3gf66

“I wanted to be a runaway mum, but fear held me back”

Fitness

Irish T.V. presenter Kathryn Thomas recently penned an excellent article discussing her struggle to overcome the fear of losing a pregnancy after several miscarriages, and how this affected her passion for running.

We know that a healthy diet and exercise improve fertility, and moderate exercise during IVF and pregnancy is important for general wellbeing and stress relief. While there is no strong evidence that any one form of exercise is best during the fertility journey, those that promote strength and mindfulness (such as yoga) are excellent options.

The most important thing is to choose something you enjoy, and to stay active, both for your health and for your baby’s.

To read Kathryn’s story, see the link below:

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/fitness/kathryn-thomas-i-wanted-to-be-a-runaway-mum-but-fear-held-me-back-1.3832462

Dr. Cathy Allen speaks about fertility for Women’s Health Month

In the following article, Dr Cathy Allen speaks about how lifestyle changes have affected our reproduction in the last 50 years.

Changes in health, lifestyle and society have impacted greatly on human reproduction, particularly in females, over the past 50 years.  But there is more we can do to help infertility, advises Dr. Allen.

http://www.healthnews.ie/womens-health/lifestyle-changes-have-affected-our-reproduction-in-the-last-50-years

New Research Funding for MFC Clinician

Research

MFC is delighted to share that our clinical research fellow Dr. Lucia Hartigan recently received research funding from the National Maternity Hospital Medical Fund.

In collaboration with UCD School of Medicine, Dr. Hartigan will use this funding to investigate new biomarkers that may help predict the developmental potential of an oocyte, and improve ART outcomes.

Congratulations Lucia!