In the 25 years that I have been involved in IVF in New Zealand, we have seen a doubling in the chances of becoming pregnant. That’s huge. Innovations in embryo care and selection techniques enables us to replace an embryo with one that has a higher chance of success. This reduces the emotional and physical toll for our clients. In fact, better embryo selection has led to a huge reduction in multiple pregnancy rates. New Zealand and Australia have led the world in achieving a higher single embryo transfer rate. This is a significant achievement for a small country like ours.
Although one of the most rewarding parts about my job is when my clients become pregnant, for me it’s also actually about education and ensuring people are well informed about their options and the steps involved in investigating and treating infertility. Of course when someone gets pregnant that is hugely important, and it’s the biggest part of what we work hard to do for our clients. But we acknowledge that it doesn’t always work for out them as well and it’s our job to make sure they are well supported. Making sure our clients are informed about their options right from the start is key, while trying to make sense for them about what the problem might be and what the options are for them as individuals. We want to give them the whole picture.
Probably the biggest challenge we have is maternal and ovarian age. People are still putting off having children into their mid 30’s when their egg reserve may be low. Health education is key. It’s really important that we educate women and men about fertility, and that they shouldn’t take it for granted. The message isn’t ‘rush out and have babies when you are really young’. It’s about planning ahead. Don’t leave it too late and assume it will happen straight away.
There have been huge changes in social attitudes towards same sex couples and single women having fertility treatment in the last fifteen years. A big part of our donor programme is in fact same sex and single women. Another shift that happened is that in the mid 1990’s intracytoplasmic sperm microinjection (ISCI) was introduced around the world, including New Zealand, which enabled us to treat most sperm problems. People haven’t always been aware that this is a significant problem area. This development means you can inject sperm into the egg, to counter any problems from the male’s side.
What is really interesting at the moment is the rapid development of our ability to perform genetic screening on embryos. The reason why that is very exciting is that it is going to make it faster for people to get pregnant and will require less embryo transfers to get a viable embryo put back. And the technology is getting quicker and cheaper. If we jump ahead five years from now I think most women over the age of 35 undergoing IVF treatment will probably opt for preimplantation genetic testing. We are also seeing a rapid increase in uptake of genetic carrier screening prior to getting pregnant to screen for common genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Medical technology and advancement allows us to benefit greatly in all areas of health, including fertility.
Everyone’s a little bit different and each story is unique. One of the things I am really proud of at Repromed is that we have an exceptionally committed team of nurses, lab staff, doctors, counsellors and admin staff and they are very focused on our clients. We are all passionate about making sure that people aren’t treated as a number, but as real people with a story and a personal set of values. It’s about respect. Our clients share their very personal journeys with us and we respect that and hold that personal information carefully. It’s a privilege to be a part of their journey.
Repromed NZ offer private and public funded IVF treatment and may be able to help you. You can book a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor. Click here to make the first step.
Individual results may vary dependant on your personal circumstances.