We would like to extend a very warm welcome to a new member of the MFC management team. Georgina Kearney has been appointed as the general manager for the clinic and will oversee all non-clinical activities, including finance, customer service and quality, and will ensure that the clinic is fully supported in carrying out its objectives.
The IVF process is emotionally intense, physically draining and expensive. But advanced medical knowledge and pioneering lab techniques are making the ‘take-home baby rate’ for women and couples better than ever, writes Danielle Barron.
Merrion Fertility Clinic featured in the Sunday Business Post and answered the most common fertility questions.
Keep reading to see full article.
The IVF Process
Whether it’s Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or standard In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), the procedure is the same for the couple. Professor Mary Wingfield, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the National Maternity Hospital, and clinical director of Merrion Fertility Clinic, outlines what a typical IVF cycle involves. “We try to get between ten and 15 eggs, and to achieve this the woman has to go on fertility drugs that she self-injects for ten to 15 days.”
The eggs are removed vaginally, and on the same day the man produces a sperm sample. The eggs and sperm are placed in culture, and by the following day, it will be obvious which eggs have been fertilised and are on their way to forming embryos.
Three to five days later, all proceeding well, an embryo is selected to be put back into the woman’s womb. Any extra viable embryos are frozen to be used in the future.
IVF Success Rates
The good news is that there have been a number of incremental improvements in IVF over the years, which has seen the “take-home baby rate” soar from 10 per cent to 30 per cent on average, says Wingfield.
“It’s much better than it used to be. If the woman is under 35, then with one treatment it is 50 per cent – you can compare that to couples with peak fertility who will only get pregnant every third time they try.”
To get pregnant naturally, around 15 million healthy sperm are needed, but for IVF you need about 100,000. Of course, just one sperm and one egg make a baby, but understandably with an IVF cycle they like to maximise your chances.
For more common causes of poor sperm production and motility (the movement and swimming of the sperm), urologists have a range of strategies and interventions that can help improve sperm quantity and quality.
The Irish Cancer Society hosted their ‘Living Well with and Beyond Cancer’ 2019 national conference on Saturday September 7th in Dublin. This annual conference provides information and support to enable people to live well after a cancer diagnosis.
MFC clinical fellow Dr Maebh Horan gave a talk on fertility preservation in childhood cancer, and discussed the challenges and emerging technologies that offer young survivors hope of achieving parenthood after cancer.
For more information on the 2019 conference, please see the link below:
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:
Dr. Helen Spillane of MFC recently took part in a conference at The Centre for Reproductive Medicine of Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels. The clinic is a world leader in research, education, development and treatment in Assisted Reproduction & Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, performing 5,500 cycles of IVF/ICSI yearly.
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:
For the British Fertility Society response to the HFEA report on trends and figures in fertility treatment, please follow the link below:
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:
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.
We at MFC are celebrating International Women’s Day! This year the campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, and what better way to achieve this goal for our patients than to advocate for public funding of fertility treatment.
Infertility affects women of all ethnicities and all social backgrounds, it does not discriminate.
That is why we pledge today to always be an advocate for our patients, to strive for a better balance in access to fertility care, and to ensure that everyone has the chance to achieve their dream of parenthood.
As Ireland’s only Fertility Clinic with ‘Guaranteed Irish’ membership, we were delighted to attend this morning’s briefing “Ireland’s Winning Business Teams” which hosted an expert panel of guest speakers including Ms. Helen McEntee T.D. Minister for European Affairs. The main discussion was on Brexit and what Irish businesses across the board need as the necessary outcome of the Brexit deal.
MFC take great pride in reflecting the Guaranteed Irish beliefs of Provenance, Quality and Trust. Our policy for evidence based care and patient focused services reflect the Guaranteed Irish belief in maximum quality of Irish services.