National Fertility Awareness week – 31 October to 6 November

31 October 2016

31st October is a date celebrated worldwide; it is the day when ghosts and ghouls come out to play, it is a day for dressing up and eating vast amounts of sweets and chocolates cheerfully donated by neighbours, it is of course Halloween!  Although it is a holiday enjoyed by many adults, Halloween is an occasion with a real focus on children.  However, 31st October also marks the start of National Fertility Awareness week which seeks to raise awareness of the struggles experienced by many people to have children.

Infertility is a problem experienced by many thousands of people every year and many of us will have come across it, having struggled with it ourselves or having seen friends or family members battling to become parents.  nfaw.org.uk cites statistics of 1 in 6 couples experiencing problems with fertility but, despite the problem being so widespread, infertility is still riddled with misconceptions and myths.  National Fertility Awareness week seeks to overturn these and shine a spotlight on untold fertility stories.

Some common misconceptions they seek to overturn are:

Myth: fertility issues are a female problem
Reality: male infertility problems are as common female ones (Source - Resolve)

Myth:  IVF will work for me
Reality: IVF fails 75% of the time (Source – HFEA Trends report 2016)

Myth: If you need medical help to conceive, NHS services are available
Reality: 6 out of 10 people with fertility problems pay for their own treatment (Source – HFEA Trends report 2016)

Infertility can be caused by a number of medical conditions.  In women, it may be caused by conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis or ectopic pregnancy.  In men, potential causes include undescended testes, testicular cancer and testicular trauma.  In both sexes, various medications can have an impact on fertility. 

I have dealt with a number of clinical negligence claims arising from failures or delays in treating infertility causing conditions.  These are cases which are of the utmost importance to the injured person.  The loss of the prospect of a family or the need for invasive fertility treatment can be devastating and the cost of fertility treatment can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds.  The Judicial College Guidelines recognise the devastation that infertility and the associated psychological effects can cause and the compensation for the injury itself can be up to £141,630.  Moderate brain damage, back injuries causing paralysis and single limb amputations attract similar levels of general damages so it is plain that there is judicial recognition that infertility is considered to be a severe and devastating injury.

If you are struggling with infertility and you are concerned about the medical treatment you have received you can contact our clinical negligence team by emailing us at clinnegenquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk or by calling 020 7814 1200.

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