Group offers fertility understanding
One in six couples face issues
A Cromwell woman who battled for years to get pregnant is forming a fertility support group for the region.
Torey Burns said although infertility was widespread – affecting one in six couples in New Zealand – support and understanding could be hard to find.
‘‘I realise how valuable a support group would have been for me during our journey through infertility.
‘‘The ups and downs are really only understood by others who have walked in your shoes, and I’d like to help provide that support for others.’’
Burns said she went through two rounds of IVF treatment before getting pregnant with her 5-month son Beau.
‘‘There are all kinds of different treatment. My eggs were collected and you hope they fertilise and grow, then the fertilised egg gets implanted. Our eggs didn’t fertilise in the first round so then we tried six months later and we had success.’’
When Burns and her husband were trying for a baby, she did not know anyone who had gone through IVF treatment, she said.
‘‘There just needs to be a support network. It can be a real lonely process.’’
The cost of treatment could also be a barrier to people experiencing infertility, she said.
Currently, public funding provided up to two cycles of fertility treatment for couples and infertile singles who meet certain criteria, she said.
Fertility NZ was in the process of lobbying the government to fund a third cycle of treatment, and last month launched The Empty Prams Campaign to signify the country’s missing babies due to limited treatment funding.
President of Fertility NZ Nigel McKerras said it had been 10 years since there was any increase in funding for fertility treatment, yet infertility now impacted one in six New Zealand couples.
‘‘Treatment funding in this country lags dramatically behind Australia, where it is seen as an investment in positive population growth.’’
Other priorities included reducing the waiting time for those with unexplained infertility and reducing waiting times in general.
Currently, couples without a medical diagnosis of infertility must try to conceive for five years before they were eligible to join the waiting list for public treatment, he said.
The waiting time is often 12 months or even longer.
‘‘A couple who starts trying for a baby when the woman is 33 may be 40 by the time they receive publicly funded treatment, at which time her chance of pregnancy from an IVF cycle has reduced to only 24 per cent.’’
What: Fertility Support Group Where: Rotated around Central Otago, Queenstown and Wanaka. First meeting in Cromwell at Resource Centre, on August 20, 7.30pm. Cost: Free Contact: For more information email Torey at centralotagosupport@fertilitynz. org.nz
Support: Torey Burns is starting a fertility support group for people in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes region.