There have been many stories in the press recently about the lack of awareness about fertility and its decline with age. Indeed there have been calls to change the school PHSE curriculum, and introduce ‘Fertility MOT’s’ at 25, to make sure people are aware of the facts, before it’s too late.
As a consultant at one of the busiest reproductive medicine units in the UK, I am acutely aware of the sheer numbers of women (and men) who are shocked when faced with the reality that it might not be as easy to start a family as they first thought it might.
Of course, as specialists in the field, it is our job to do all we can to help and there are several options of assisted conception available. Nevertheless, I think it is important to be as realistic as possible before treatment options are started upon, so that expectations are managed and informed choices made.
Information about Fertility Choices Needed at Younger Age
At the risk of doing myself and my colleagues out of a job, the time for sharing information about fertility needs to come at a much earlier stage than an IVF clinic. That’s why I announced the launch of a new working party this week, to create greater awareness for the fertility journey and the various choices available to a female and her partner.
New Working Party Launched by BFS, RCOG and FSRH
The new working party was launched at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in London. It is a joint partnership between the British Fertility Society (BFS), RCOG and the Faculty for Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH). We’ve gathered key influencers from reproductive medicine, education and government who will be able to deliver a number of high-level initiatives to ensure young people (aged 16-24) receive consistent messages about their fertility, health and wellbeing, at the right time.
National Survey amongst Young People; 16-24
We want schools, the primary care sector, youth groups, parents and friends to know how to advise young people. We also want young people to know more about their health, the choices they have and where to go for support. Exactly what our list of actions will be is still in discussion. Our starting point is to commission a national survey and work closely with young people to understand their needs and views.
Fertility Health Summit: 15th April 2016
Our findings will be discussed at a national, Fertility Health Summit on Friday 15th April in London.
If you have any views or suggestions on this subject I would very much like to hear from you in the comments section below. You can also follow me for updates on twitter: @balenadam.