Health And Family

1 in 10 Filipinos suffer infertility - study

Tam Noda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - One in 10 Filipinos is suffering one or more conditions that prevent them from conceiving, showed results of a study commissioned by pharmaceutical firm Merck Serono.

The study showed that while majority of couples with fertility problems seek initial consultation, treatment is hindered by patients’ perception of the high cost of treatment and lack of understanding on the procedures involved.

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA with headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

The company released the result of the study as it embarks on a campaign to raise awareness on infertility in the Philippines and its treatment.

The campaign dubbed "Hope for Starting Families", aims to provide couples with relevant information on infertility treatment through public information efforts such as a series of lay fora across major cities nationwide, and a dedicated website on infertility such as www.fertilityphilippines.com. The website will serve as a repository of information on the causes of infertility, available treatment options as well as a directory of medical experts and treatment centers in the Philippines.

Merck said one of the barriers for treatment also stems from the misconception that treatment is not available locally, or that it is more effective in other countries.

Under its campaign, Merck informs Filipino couples that fertility treatments are available from five assisted reproductive technology (ART) centers in the Philippines and that their success rates are comparable to international standards.

According to the Philippine Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (PSREI), Filipino couples are encouraged to seek help from fertility experts – and to do so urgently - if they truly want to realize their dream of starting a family.

"Fertility treatments are being successfully done in the country for many years now, and I am happy to report that we have helped many couples conceive with an average success rate of 30 to 50 percent," said Tim Kneen, Regional Vice President of Merck Serono in Asia Pacific.

The Hope for Starting Families campaign is aligned with Merck’s efforts across Asia, following a recent study commissioned by Merck Serono that has been endorsed by the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE).

Called Starting Families Asia, the study is the largest study of its kind, with 1,000 women across 10 Asian countries surveyed. The study revealed critical knowledge gaps about fertility, the key causes of infertility and fertility treatment options.

The Starting Families Asia reported less than half of the women surveyed across the region understand that a couple is classified as infertile if they fail to conceive after one year of trying (43 percent); that a woman in her forties has a lower chance of falling pregnant than a woman in her thirties (36 percent); and that a healthy lifestyle does not necessarily guarantee fertility (32 percent).

The findings could mean that many women are not seeking the help or treatment that could improve their chances of conceiving – particularly for women above age 35.

"Asian countries have among the lowest fertility rates in the world and the declining birth rates are a cause for concern. Merck Serono commissioned the Starting Families Asia study to better understand Asian women’s decision-making considerations around having a baby. It is our hope that insights from this study, which highlights critical fertility knowledge gaps that need to be addressed, will assist healthcare professionals and policy makers in addressing this acute challenge," Kneen said.

Kneen added Merck will to continue to work closely with doctors, ART centers and patients who have successfully given birth to babies through assisted reproductive techniques to produce and share updated content on significant fertility issues.  Merck will also conduct workshops on Basic Infertility Management for obstetricians and gynecologists.












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