Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Getting the preconception message
Hooray - a voice of reason at last ... Australian couples are too quick to regard IVF as a right rather than consider how weight loss, fewer cigarettes or more sex could improve their chances of having a baby, a leading fertility expert said. Reproductive specialist Rob Norman will tell a national fertility conference in Hobart today that while assisted reproduction is the only option for some couples, more than 50 per cent of those who seek it are overlooking simple lifestyle changes that could help lead to a natural pregnancy. "People assume that if they can't have a baby then they're going to have IVF, without even considering that if they smoke or if they're overweight, they're massively limiting their chance of getting pregnant," University of Adelaide Research Centre for Reproductive Health director Professor Norman said. "Some couples who seek help are only having sex once a month, but IVF is not a substitute for intercourse. "There are a lot of people showing up with these health problems but they say: 'I'm not here for a health message, I'm here to get a baby', and that's not right." More couples are seeking IVF as they encounter fertility problems sparked by older age and lifestyle factors that affect the quality of the egg and sperm. The number of IVF babies increased from 4500 in 2000 to 6200 in 2004 and is predicted to reach 8000 this year.