Press release 20th August 2014
UK national campaign launched to tackle the issue of male infertility
Campaign calls on government, medical community and British public to end infertility stigma and improve support for men
London, 20th August 2014: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt must work with the UK’s medical community and take urgent action to improve treatment choices offered to men suffering with infertility, a new national campaign has urged.
Make Fertility Conceivable, launched today and headed by campaign champion Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai, made a rallying call to help the 3.5 million people in the country who face the daily pressures of infertility. It argued that for men treatment options remain poor and that stigma means many do not discuss their challenges, despite the fact that male infertility is believed to contribute to couples struggling to conceive in half of cases.
The campaign called for immediate action to bring male infertility out into the open, end the taboo and to unlock effective treatments being developed in the UK.
Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai said: “The UK is the envy of the world when it comes to healthcare innovation and has led pioneering work in fertility treatments, especially for women. We now need to do the same for men.
“Many men feel helpless but we must remind them that fertility challenges are not unusual. We must also do everything to help them overcome fertility obstacles and this is where the UK can lead the world.
“When new approaches and treatments to tackling male infertility show results, the medical community must examine them to ensure effective options are made available to men. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to do this.”
An e-petition has now been launched calling for a full scale parliamentary debate on the matter, requiring 100,000 signatures from the public.
And campaign champion Dr Zhai, who with the co-operation of patients being treated at her Harley Street clinic, has conducted research with pioneering academics from the University of Kent into tackling male infertility, has also written directly to Jeremy Hunt urging him to encourage the medical community to consider clinical trials when solutions show promise.
In a letter to the health secretary she said: “The treatment and support available to men who suffer from fertility obstacles remains far from adequate, even today. Thankfully, there is much that we can do to correct this.
“Male infertility is still taboo. Many men do not discuss this. Given the support they receive, this is not surprising. Those men that do come forward are offered very limited help. Attending a fertility clinic may lead to a referral for intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a very invasive treatment that can increase the risk of Down syndrome and miscarriage.
“There are other options that can improve the quality of reproductive health and give people a better chance of conceiving. But they remain largely locked away from the public, who are kept unaware of this potential.
“We must show that successful treatments do exist to bring the subject of male infertility out into the open.”
Make Fertility Conceivable is now calling for all credible options to be given serious consideration by the medical community and for full clinical trials to take place where treatments need to be proven.
It is encouraging members of the public to openly discuss the subject and the campaign is also calling on high profile male figures in the UK who suffer from fertility to come forward.
Some celebrities like Gordon Ramsay have already been publically open about their infertility challenges. Make Fertility Conceivable now hopes that more public figures will follow suit by showing their support for the campaign in order to encourage an open dialogue on this life changing subject.
Notes to editors
About Make Fertility Conceivable
Make Fertility Conceivable is the national campaign to tackle male infertility in the UK. It launched on 20th August 2014 with the aim of breaking taboo on the subject and making a greater range of effective treatment options available to men. The campaign is calling on the UK to pioneer once more and become the world lead in tackling male infertility.
The campaign e-petition can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68672.
About Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai
Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai is campaign champion at Make Fertility Conceivable. She is a fertility expert with more than two decades worth of experience successfully helping many couples to conceive at The Zhai Clinic on Harley Street in London. She has extensive experience helping both men and women and has conducted ground-breaking research alongside academics at The University of Kent and Brunel University, including research into reducing sperm disomy, something never done before. Dr Zhai is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and member of the British Fertility Society.
Ian Pearson, Highland Marketing on behalf of Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai and Make Fertility Conceivable
Phone: +44 (0)208 974 5967
Danielle Gibson, Highland Marketing on behalf of Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai and Make Fertility Conceivable
Phone: +44 (0)1877 332714