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Armstrong: More awareness needed for fertility issues

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has called for more awareness for fertility issues, as Fertility Week 2020 begins.

The subject for the week is ‘You are Not Alone,’ something which Ms Armstrong said was vital in breaking the taboo around fertility issues, which one in six couples across the UK face.

“Having fertility issues can be very isolating but it doesn’t have to be. I am no stranger to the Regional Fertility Centre and know having fertility issues is difficult and heart-breaking,” she said.

“That’s why I’m asking people to be more aware of their fertility during Fertility Week. These problems can have an incredibly far-reaching and devastating impact for all those struggling. Many suffer in silence, with a stigma or shame still being attached, leading to people often finding themselves socially isolated.

“Therefore this week is important to show people they are indeed not alone, with help coming in many different forms. If you are looking advice on how to support someone with fertility issues, it is available on nfaw.org.uk and if anyone is concerned about their fertility, they talk to their GP or contact the Fertility Network UK on 01424 732361.

“I have asked the Health Minister for an update on delivery of the NICE recommendations, as contained in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, to provide people with access to three free cycles of IVF. I have also asked the Minister to clarify if he will enable people, unable to progress their IVF treatment at the Regional Fertility Centre due to COVID, to be able to access treatment in private clinics. The Minister has contracted private companies to provide other medical treatments, so fertility should be the same.

“In addition, I have asked the Education Minister to ensure fertility issues are explained to young people at the right time in their education. The more they are aware of what can influence their fertility, the less the isolation and fewer mental health problems they will face later in life.”