It was an experience that was extraordinarily common, and yet so uncommonly extraordinary. This experience, enjoyed by my wife and me, was the arrival of our first-born, a son. A miracle of human existence perhaps, but a miracle that happens millions of times each year around the world.
One of our incredible #100FertilityFaces has started a blog to share her IVF Journey.
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Number of CCGs offering 3 IVF cycles has halved since 2013 – Read the results :
As a solicitor who deals with fertility law matters, I have come across the legal implications of IVF as it has developed throughout the years. However as a woman with PCOS and a trustee of Verity, the Charity in England and Wales that deals with fertility issues, I am in somewhat of a unique position in looking at the development of IVF over the last 40 years. The development has clearly only been possible given the advances in medicine and science.
However, it is also essential and something that I am acutely aware of that it is also the need of society’s attitude to develop as well as the law to progress in order to keep up with the continuing developments. When IVF was first developed in 1977, the law was woefully inadequate to cope with the legal questions it poses. Since introduction of the ability for children to be conceived using a variety of different medical techniques, the law has also had to play catch up somewhat to ensure that not only the children but the intended parents and any relevant donor or surrogate are all protected in the future. The HFEA 1990 Act was considerably updated in 2008 with relevant instructions for civil partnership and donor anonymity as an example.
However, many in the medical and legal worlds now consider the HFEA 2008 to also be woefully inadequate. The HFEA have granted a licence to Newcastle Fertility Clinic to develop treatment with mitochondrial diseases. This is where a third person’s gene are used to replace an unhealthy mitochondrial disease. However, technically this can lead to possibility that a baby can be born with DNA from three individuals. This ultimately leads to a legal question as to whom is the parent and whether the current law under the HFEA 2008 is adequate for these future developments.
Fertility law also poses a number of ethical issues as to whose welfare should be the priority particularly when a court is deciding situations such as contact after a surrogacy arrangement.
Whatever the future may hold, progress needs to be made in the legal understanding of these medical advances so that society through the courts can make appropriate decisions without involving intended parents in complex legal court cases. It is has been an exciting time in fertility treatments and law over the last 40 years and no doubt the next 40 years with the proposed amendments to the Surrogacy Act 1985, together with the medical advancements of IVF, will lead to yet more legal questions to answer.
Caroline Andrews is a Family Law Solicitors at Wortley Byers Law in Brentwood and a Volunteer Trustee for Verity the PCOS Charity in which PCOS is a leading cause of sub-fertility issues in women in the UK, affecting 1 in 5 women.
PRESS RELEASE Issued: 25 October 2017
The #cyclesavvy challenge
In support of the National Fertility Awareness Week from Monday 30th October to Sunday 5th November 2017, Dr Fertility are launching #cyclesavvy, a national survey targeting women aged 25-44 years old to research the level of knowledge women have about their own fertility.
Dr Fertility believe that there is an unmet educational need when it comes to women understanding how they can get pregnant naturally, such as when they are fertile in each cycle; what ovulation is; when it happens; and that conditions such as PCOS can affect their fertility.
#Cyclesavvy follows up on the #bettersexeducation campaign in 2016, which focused on improving sex education in schools. However, Dr Fertility believes that, even with better education at school, by the time a woman is ready to start a family, a lot of what she learned at school could easily have been forgotten and some of this information could be out of date.
The campaign aims to collect at least 300 responses and once the data is analysed, the results will be published. To help plug the anticipated knowledge gap, Dr Fertility will launch a #cyclesavvy bite-sized video series presented by Kate Davies RN, BSc(Hons), FP Cert, Expert Fertility Nurse Specialist, alongside the results.
Kate says ‘I was excited when Dr Fertility invited me to be their expert for the #cyclesavvy campaign. In my role as a Fertility Nurse Consultant, I have seen many women who don’t fully understand their fertility and would certainly benefit from further education to help maximise their chances of getting pregnant. Dr Fertility are addressing the educational needs of women who are trying to conceive in way that is easily accessible for them and easy for them to understand.’
In 2016, Dr Fertility teamed up with Professor Allan Pacey, one of the UK’s leading male fertility experts, to launch the #spermbanter campaign. This aimed to educate men and to evoke banter to tackle the male fertility taboo. The campaign video series has achieved 98,000 views in the last twelve months and this continues to rise. #spermbanter will be promoted again this year during NFAW in support of Fertility Network’s #FertilityFellas.
Let’s get #cyclesavvy! If you want to find out if you are #cyclesavvy take Dr Fertility’s 2 minute test using the link below.
Contact: Dr Lucy Buckley or Kobi McCardle
- Dr Fertility’s vision is to become the home of trusted fertility information, products and services to help maximise your chances of getting pregnant. Dr Fertility aims to provide a flexible workplace where working parents can flourish.
- National Fertility Awareness Week is organised by the Fertility Network for more information visit: http://www.infertilitynetworkuk.com/nfaw/
- Campaign URL: www.drfertility.co.uk/spermbanter
Aberdeen Fertility Centre – Cycle for 1 in 6
6 staff, 60 mins, 6 hours for Fertility Network UK because we are helping to raise awareness –
Thank you to everyone at Aberdeen Fertility Centre and Good Luck to you all!
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