Fertility Treatment Needed Everywhere


After reading a recent article from ScienceDaily, it made me think about the inequities for women around the world when looking at fertility treatment options.

In the article it starts by speaking to the fact that over the last 30 years, more and more babies are being born using modern fertility techniques, such as IVF. I was surprised to read that in some countries, up to 4 percent of babies are born using a variety of fertility related treatments.

Next, the article talks about the differences regarding fertility options for women in developed countries and those in developing nations. We all know of the treatments and assisted fertility options we have available to most of us. However in impoverished nations, women who struggle with fertility may also struggle to be accepted within their family or community. Some women will experience abandonment, have their husband take part in extra-marital affairs, be disowned by her family, ostracized by her community, or be mocked and teased.

Fortunately, organizations such as ESHIRE (the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology), have already begun to pilot two programs in Africa to make fertility treatments available to women who would not otherwise have access. ESHIRE’s greater goal is to include fertility clinics within the scope of family health services in developing nations. In addition, they work to make these services inexpensive, safe, and culturally appropriate.

The two pilot medical fertility programs that are taking place in Khartoum and Capetown are working to integrate fertility treatment within existing medical services. In addition to offering family planning and mother-care services, they will also be offering one cycle of IVF for less than $200. This is amazing when you think that the same procedure costs European women and women from the United States 5-10 thousand dollars!!!

ESHIRE recognizes that it is not addressing all types of fertility issues. But women that suffer from infertility because of infection related tubal damage will have the option of using the IVF service. This organization will continue to work on developing simple interventions that are safe and effective. In addition, they will continue to train healthcare workers so that these fertility techniques can be incorporated into their medical care programs.

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.