Thursday, 13 December 2012

Where is the blog?

My Fertility Matters blog can now be found here -  Please come and visit - and leave a message to tell me what you think!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

afterword... The Fertility Show

This weekend's Fertility Show was very busy - more than 3,600 visitors over the weekend - and it was lovely to meet some of you and to find many old friends too.  The seminar programme this year was fantastic with really interesting topics addressed by some of the world's leading experts in their fields and most of the talks appeared to be packed out.
There were quite a few clinics from the UK exhibiting at the Show, mainly from London and the South East, but they were rather outnumbered by their counterparts from overseas who have clearly realised that more and more people are considering travelling for fertility treatment.  There were fertility specialists from Spain, Russia, Latvia, Georgia, Italy, Barbados, the Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, Greece, Sweden and across the USA from Florida to Chicago. I spoke to a number of people who were considering treatment overseas and they'd found it really helpful to have so many different clinics from around the world all gathered under one roof.  It can be very hard to distinguish between one and another when you're only judging them on their websites and email communications, and the opportunity to meet staff face to face and get a feel for the clinics and what they can offer is quite unique.
For me, it was really good to see so many patient support organisations there too - Infertility Network UK, the Donor Conception NetworkInternational Asherman's AssociationKlinefelter's Syndrome Association, Fleur and the lovely team from Verity PCOS who must be congratulated on their purple theme which even went as far as a rather wonderful pair of handmade purple earings...
As it is National Adoption Week, it was heartening to see that a number of fostering and adoption agencies were represented too as this is an alternative route to parenthood that some may want to consider.
Everyone I spoke to who'd visited the Show had found it to be a beneficial experience.  I know some people do feel it is a rather commercial affair for a medical problem, but fertility treatment is a massive commercial industry. Personally, I think the opportunities a weekend at The Fertility Show can offer outweigh any such concerns.  If you're not into fertility astrology or crystal therapy, you don't need to spend time at the stands offering them. It's a matter of picking and choosing the things that you want to know more about and making the most of the opportunities the weekend can afford.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Come and say hello...

If you’re going to The Fertility Show at London’s Olympia tomorrow, do come and say hello.  I’m speaking at 11.45 about choosing a clinic, and then chairing a Q and A session with two overseas clinics at 3.30, so do come and find me if you’re there.   If you haven’t booked in advance, you can still turn up and pay on the door.
Piatkus, who publish my books, have very kindly donated some copies of The Complete Guide to IVF to the Infertility Network UK stand where they can be exchanged for donations to the charity, and I will also have some copies of Precious Babies, my latest book about pregnancy, birth and parenting after infertlity.
The Fertility Show is always a really interesting two days, and this year is on track to be the best yet with a fascinating array of seminars and exhibitors from around the world.  If you want to know more about exactly what’s on and when, go to

Thursday, 1 November 2012

My new blog site

If you don't know about it already, do have a look at my new blog site,  I'm going to be posting in both places for the time being as I know it will take a while for everyone to find the new site, but I hope that in the long run it will be easier to use and it has room for far more content than this blog. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Could you ask strangers for money to pay for IVF?

It may sound incredible, but apparently people are having to come up with ever more inventive ways to fund their fertility treatment in the current economic situation.  With many couples already living on overdrafts, cutting back on holidays or other luxuries will not free up the ready cash needed, and getting loans or using already overloaded credit cards is becoming increasingly difficult. So, in the States at least, some couples have apparently turned to the internet using websites or Facebook to ask strangers for money to fund their treatment – see this article.  Could you consider this? Should you have to?
Here in the UK, the postcode lottery for treatment continues to cause distress to many couples who find they can’t access IVF despite being eligible according to the national guidelines because in their local area the primary care trust has decided not to fund treatment – or to ration it.  It can be very difficult to find the money for private treatment which will cost more than the NHS would pay.  Lord Winston campaigned on this some time ago – saying that many clinics were hugely overcharging for fertility treatment and that it could be far cheaper.
Asking strangers for money may seem extreme, but does perhaps illustrate how difficult it can be to live with involuntary childlessness…

Monday, 22 October 2012

Is it ever right to raffle fertility treatment?

When plans for an IVF lottery were announced here in the UK, the overall response was far from positive with questions raised about the ethics and the finances, but in the US it appears that running lotteries for fertility treatment has become more common.  One clinic even asked people to enter a competition to win treatment by writing or making a video about their fertility problems and why they deserved treatment…
It’s true that our current access to funded fertility treatment is problematic to say the least, and that many couples simply can’t afford to go privately – but does that make running lotteries for treatment right? Those in favour argue that it offers hope, but if your chance of winning is one in a million, it’s probably more about raising unrealistic expectations.  Lotteries may be a good way for clinics to gain publicity, they may be a good way for individuals to make money – but I don’t see how a lottery can ever be a satisfactory way to offer healthcare.
If you’re interested, you can read more about the US lotteries here 

After embryo transfer...

One of the most alarming moments in an IVF cycle - for me at least - was standing up for the first time after embryo transfer.  I could never quite get over the idea that an embryo could just fall straight out when you get up after the transfer. Speaking to other people since, I've learnt that I'm not the only one to feel that way. It's quite common to worry that you might somehow jeopardise your chances of success if you stand up too quickly - or if you do too much in the days after embryo transfer.
Some complementary therapists advise a couple of days bed rest after embryo transfer, but research shows that this makes absolutely no difference to outcomes at all - and you can bet your bottom dollar that fertility specialists would all be encouraging their patients to stay in bed if there was any chance that this could possibly increase success rates.
When fertility treatment doesn't work, we want to know why and start looking for reasons.  Most often, there is no clear reason but you can rest assured that the one thing that really won't make a difference is how long you spend lying down in the first couple of days after embryo transfer.