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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Fertility blind spots unveiled in new report

Health Industry Hub | December 13, 2023 |

Pharma News: Shedding light on the state of women’s fertility awareness in Australia, Organon has unveiled its Australian Fertility Report which delves into crucial aspects of women’s understanding and experiences concerning fertility and reproductive health.

The report’s findings illuminate significant gaps in fertility knowledge among Australian women, particularly concerning actions they can take to enhance their chances of conceiving. Despite familiarity with various fertility treatments, a considerable number of women still lack awareness regarding their own bodies and fertility, indicating a need for education and empowerment.

Based on a new national survey involving 2,044 women aged 18-45 years across Australia, the report highlights a stark reality: even though a quarter of women have encountered or are experiencing difficulties conceiving, only 16% of them sought fertility treatments.

Professor Bill Ledger, Head and Professor of the Discipline of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in the School of Women’s & Children’s Health, emphasised the critical nature of this issue with an escalating rate of infertility, affecting 1 in 6 couples.

“People often don’t think about fertility until it becomes an issue. That is why there is a need for education through a more holistic life course approach to reproductive health, including family building, to reduce difficulty conceiving and to help Australians achieve their desired family-building intentions,” he explained.

The Organon Women’s Fertility Study also unravelled key reasons why women experiencing fertility issues refrained from utilising fertility treatments. Affordability (81%) emerged as a primary concern, despite some treatments being subsidized through Medicare or covered by private health insurance. Other barriers included concerns about the emotional toll (73%) and scepticism regarding treatment success rates (70%).

A world-first IVF collaboration between Virtus Health, healthtech startup 23Strands, and Monash University aims to explore the potential enhancement of patient outcomes in IVF treatments through genome sequencing.

Professor Beverley Vollenhoven from Monash University underscored the transformative potential of this research, saying “This collaboration integrating genomics, artificial intelligence, and clinical care aims to set a new global standard in improving women’s responses to IVF medications.”

The Organon report also revealed that most women recognise endometriosis (90%) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (88%) as significant health concerns to discuss with their doctors before attempting pregnancy. This finding aligns with existing Australian studies emphasising how timely diagnoses may impact fertility treatment and outcomes.

Teniele Spicer, a Sydney-based woman expecting her first child, shared her experience. Diagnosed with PCOS at 18, she commenced her fertility journey earlier than anticipated.

“Conversations between Australians that want to have children and their GPs need to begin early. As in my case, with knowledge comes power, and with a largely supportive public system, we actually do have the power to act early on fertility,” Ms Spicer stated.

Nirelle Tolstoshev, Managing Director of Organon ANZ, stressed the significance of empowering women in their health choices, saying “Findings from the Australian Fertility Report demonstrate the need for fertility-awareness education to be at the top of the agenda to enable Australians to have children if and when they choose to.”

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