SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has encouraged people to support Fertility Awareness week this week as an “opportunity to start a conversation about the often taboo subject of infertility, faced by one in six couples in the UK”.
The Foyle MLA said: “This week is a chance not only to raise awareness of fertility issues but also for people to educate themselves on both their physical and mental health, during this often difficult time.
“Hopefully by being more informed, men and women will be better equipped to navigate this issue, and in the process be comforted in the knowledge that they are not alone.
“Affecting almost a sixth of the population, infertility support services are essential to ensure people are assisted on every step of their journey. This includes promoting the generally unheard voices of men in this campaign as well as fostering supportive work environments for those undergoing treatment.”
Mr Durkan said his party has consistently raised this issue at Westminster and Stormont over the years. “In fact I had proposed a motion prior to the collapse of the Assembly, in relation to securing multiple cycles of IVF on the NHS,” he said, adding: “Granted this is only one step of many required, alongside increased funding to tackle the stresses, both physical and mental, which are part and parcel of this challenging process. Sadly, the reality remains that decisive action on this crucial matter cannot be taken whilst political paralysis continues.”
He added: “Regardless of whether fertility is a personal struggle or not, everyone should make an effort to understand the intricacies and difficulties of this emotive issue- we have a duty to be kind to ourselves and others on this arduous journey.”