BBC Panorama – Inside Britain’s Fertility Business

“Fertility treatment can be an expensive business. Reporter Deborah Cohen investigates how some clinics sell add-ons – the extra drugs, tests and treatments offered on top of standard fertility care. Some can add hundreds or thousands of pounds to a bill. Exclusive new research shows a worrying lack of good evidence from trials to show these can improve the chances of having a baby. Panorama goes undercover to reveal how patients aren’t always told everything they need to know when they ask some clinics about these treatments.”

For more on Merrion Fertility Clinic’s policy on evidence based care and our not for profit status, please see link 


Getting in Shape for Fertility

Dr Mary WingfieldMerrion Fertility Clinic, attached to the National Maternity Hospital in HollPhotoes Street is a leading fertility centre, providing reproductive medicine and surgery with state of the art technology and record pregnancy rates. As Ireland’s only not for profit fertility clinic, the expert and caring team at MFC is committed to individualized care plans based solely on evidence based medical practice.  Dr. Mary Wingfield, Clinical Director, gives advice on optimising fertility.

Sooner is Better

  • Women are most fertile below 35, men below 50.
  • Miscarriages increase with age.
  • Work, mortgages, travel will wait – your biological clock won’t – go for it!



  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit.
  • Avoid processed foods and refined sugar.
  • Choose wholegrain rather than white flour/pasta/rice.
  • Nuts and seeds are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants.
  • Chose oily fish and a vegetarian option at least once a week.
  • Dairy products provide calcium and vitamin D.


  • A healthy BMI is 19-25
  • For women who are overweight, losing weight (7-10% of current weight) often leads to pregnancy – especially in women with Polycystic Ovaries.
  • Being underweight is not good either – it can stop you ovulating and is not good for baby’s growth


  • Everything in moderation
  • It is important to keep fit but don’t overdo it.
  • Excessive exercise affects ovulation in women and sperm production in men.

Safe sex

  • Prevent sexually transmitted infections by being careful with partners and using condoms.Infection can damage women’s tubes and men’s sperm.




  • Smoking reduces female fertility.Smoking reduces male fertility.
  • Smoking increases the chance of miscarriage and all pregnancy problems.

Seek Medical Help

  • If you have any concerns and particularly if you have had gynaecological or testicular problems, talk to your doctor or contact us at Merrion Fertility Clinic.

Merrion Fertility Clinic is proud to be a leader in the area of reproductive medicine and surgery, providing a wide range of advanced fertility treatments and achieving record pregnancy rates.  As Ireland’s only not for profit fertility clinic, MFC is committed to individualized care plans based solely on evidence based practice.  Dr. Mary Wingfield, Clinical Director, gives advice on preparing for fertility.


Online Self Referral FormContact Us

Fitness & Fertility

Prof Mary Wingfield, discusses fertility and exercise with Mary Jennings.

She advises that exercise certainly helps to reduce the stress associated with infertility and also to manage body weight.

Studies in Australia and the UK have shown very clearly that if overweight women with infertility lose approximately 10 per cent of their body weight, more than half of them will conceive. She recommends fitness and diet together to make the best impact. Many studies show that obesity affects fertility, particularly in women with polycystic ovaries [PCOS].

Read here for more.

Professor Wingfield discusses the impact endometriosis can have on fertility

Professor Wingfield discusses the impact endometriosis can have on fertility with Arlene Harris.

“It is estimated that one third of women with endometriosis have fertility issues; however, many don’t and endometriosis has been found in women who have several children.

Very bad endometriosis can cause adhesions or scarring within the pelvis and this damages the ovaries, making it difficult for an ovulated egg to find its way into the fallopian tube. In milder forms, the endometriosis lesions cause inflammation or a reaction in the pelvis and toxins are produced which can affect sperm, eggs or embryos.”

Click here to read the Independent’s article on Endometriosis.

Endometrial scratch

Endometrial scratch is a procedure offered by MFC to suitable patients. It involves taking a biopsy of the endometrium or lining of the uterus (womb). If it is done approximately 7 days before starting stimulation for an IVF cycle, it has been shown to improve pregnancy success rates in some women. These are women who have had two or more previous embryo transfers with good quality embryos but where implantation has not occurred and they have not conceived.

ES still requires further international study to determine if it is of benefit in other groups e.g. women trying naturally, IUI, first IVF cycles or frozen embryo cycles. A large international review has just been published by the Cochrane Library which confirms a benefit for some couples but which urges caution until the results of bigger studies become available.

If you would like to discuss ES, please contact us at 01 6635000.

Click here to read Irish Examiner article on endometrial scratch.

Click here to listen to Dr Mary Wingfield speaking on Newstalk

Using Apps to Predict Fertility

Recently published research indicates that electronic resources used by the public to predict fertile windows are “generally inaccurate”. While they may help women to calculate their day of ovulation, we know that women are also fertile on the five days coming up to ovulation. This six –day period is called the fertile window and can vary from cycle to cycle if the woman has an irregular cycle.

Only one of 20 web sites and 3 of 33 apps studied were found to be accurate.

While these devices may help a woman track her cycle, it is important that women don’t rely on them. Please feel free to discuss this with oyur doctors at your appointment.

 (Setton, Robert A., Christina H. Tierney, and Tony Tsai. “The Accuracy of Websites and Cellular Phone Applications in Predicting the Fertile Window [12G].” Obstetrics & Gynecology 127 (2016): 62S).