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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roisin O'Loughlin

Fertility Awareness Week

The Irish government intends to publicly fund IVF from late 2023. Ireland is the only country in the EU that does not offer any State funding for assisted human reproduction. The government has not yet communicated with IVF providers to make plans and information on who will qualify it what services will be covered is yet to be decided on.

We hope that this assistance will be universal and that the government will specify its plans as soon as possible.

Companies in Ireland are not yet obliged to give you paid leave for reproductive healthcare treatments. The organisation of working time ( Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021 is currently under review. Recognition and adequate leave for fertility treatment and those who have suffered a pregnancy loss is a clinical necessity. Let’s hope 2023 sees a shift in this and work places set up a fertility/ pregnancy loss policy.

Male factor infertility accounts for around 1/3 of infertility cases. This is often forgotten and more often than not it is the female in the relationship who attends for initial infertility investigations. It is really important that men are part of the fertility conversation from the outset.

Irish teenagers learn about human biology, contraception and how babies are born. But the predominant message is how not to get pregnant. Fertility Europe, with support from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Emrbryology is working to improve fertility awareness and advocate for reproductive health education in schools.

A study carried out by 3 5th year students at the 53rd BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition entitled ‘Insight from a new generation- Fertility Issues’ examined student’s awareness around fertility. 79% of participants didn’t know an egg can live for only 24 hours after it is released from the ovary and 54% were not aware of the optimum time to conceive.

A fertility journey is often a very lonely experience and many people struggle in silence. It’s time to open up the conversation about fertility and family planning amongst family and friends, in the workplace and in schools/ universities.

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