Group of­fers fer­til­ity un­der­stand­ing

One in six cou­ples face is­sues

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

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.’’

Photo: JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN/FAIR­FAX NZ

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.

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