Merck pushes for fertility discussion

Merck Serono has published research that demonstrates people often leave it too late to discuss having children.

Commissioned to coincide with the UK’s first National Infertility Awareness Week, the survey, carried out with Infertility Network UK, found women too embarrassed to discuss their own fertility.

More than 60 per cent of the 500 35 to 45 year old women surveyed also admitted to having felt stigmatised for not having had children, citing family and friends as the greatest source of pressure on them to become mothers.

Over a third said they were too embarrassed to discuss their own fertility, with more than half uncomfortable discussing it even with family. Women typically wait up to two years before seeing their GP about infertility, according to Merck Serono, with older women waiting longer.

“Many couples are leaving it too long before discussing their fertility options with a healthcare professional,” said Tim Child, medical director at the Oxford Fertility Unit at the University of Oxford.

“Patients should also be aware of the choice they make when they delay trying to conceive and the impact this can have on the chances of natural conception, as well as the treatment they are entitled to under the NHS,” he added.

One of the key aims of National Infertility Awareness Week is to promote a more open discussion about fertility, according to Clare Lewis-Jones, chief executive of Infertility Network.

“Feelings of embarrassment and being judged are ultimately preventing some women seeking the help they need for their fertility problems,” she said.

Merck Serono’s research also found that, as well as waiting longer than recommended to seek initial help, women are having to wait longer than advised by the NHS to eventually receive treatment.

The pharma company’s interest in the area includes a range of fertility treatments covering each stage of the reproductive cycle. According to the company, its products have helped the birth of more than 1.8 million children.

National Infertility Awareness Week runs from October 28 to November 3, 2013.

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