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Women, IVF and accessibility issues

02 November 2016

westpac at bazaar in bloom

This year, The Royal Hospital for Women is celebrating 150 years dedicated to women and babies. The gala dinner will raise funds for Maternity Services. Each year the hospital’s Maternity Services delivers more than 4200 babies and cares for more than 600 premature babies.

Women’s Markets and Westpac has an ongoing association with RHW’s fertility clinic and the issues facing women around motherhood are many and varied. (We played a large part at the recent Bazaar In Bloom fundraiser for the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, pictured above.) Those issues around motherhood will form the theme for this gala fundraising evening at which a number of experts will speak.

Changing attitudes to IVF (in vitro fertilisation) reveal how we have moved on from the original ART (assisted reproductive technology) debates to issues around reach, availability and accessibility to technology.

Professor William Ledger UNSW Vice Dean and Head of School has noted: “The birth of IVF was not without controversy. People were suspicious that fertility doctors were ‘playing God’ and ‘tampering with Nature’. Many debates were held about the ethics of assisted conception and where the practice may lead…

“A lot has happened since Louise Brown (the first IVF baby, conceived in the UK) was born in 1978. There are now more than 7 million IVF conceived children in the world. Surveys show they are growing up and developing normally and about 1:33 Australian births now follows IVF.

“IVF is main-stream these days. We all know someone who has been through treatment and there are a huge number of web-based resources (of various degrees of veracity) that discuss every aspect of ART.

“IVF is generously subsidised by Medicare and is available in every State and Territory in Australia.

“Whole courses are devoted to reproductive biology and medicine at University level and public figures across all aspects of society are open and pleased about the help that IVF has given them and their families. Children learn about IVF in school.

“In fact just the other day the four year old son of a friend came home from Kindie and asked his mum: ‘Why am I not an IVF kid, Mum? All my friends are!’ ”

Times change but debate and discussion remain important.

For more, visit Royal Hospital for Women.

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