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National Infertility Day - what is it? And why?

29 May 2006
By Clare Lewis-Jones MBE
Chair, NID Organising Committee and Chief Executive, Infertility Network UK
Appeared in BioNews 360
National Infertility Day (NID) 2006 will take place on 10 June. The venue will once again be the New Connaught Rooms in Central London.

So what is National Infertility Day and why do it?

I know that when myself and my colleague, Sheena Young, first started talking to people back in 2000, about what it was, and why it was something we should do here in the UK, and what we needed - a large number of people said we were asking for a great deal, if not too much. 'You'll never do it', they said!

It has to be acknowledged that we copied the idea from our sister organisation in France who had organised a similar event. Sheena and I were privileged to go along to their Day in December 2000. I will never forget the moment when we looked around a conference room to see hundreds of patients benefiting from the huge infertility expertise on the stage before them. We resolved there and then that we would do our utmost to make the same thing happen in the UK.

And we did!

The inaugural event, held in June 2002, attracted over 500 patients on the day, with more than 700 in total if you include the exhibitors and speakers who attended the event. NID 2004 replicated that success and those numbers. 2006 will do the same. How can you not be there and how can you deny the patients you are treating the benefit of gaining so much invaluable information and support and information in one day. The objectives of NID are:

  • To raise awareness of infertility and the support which is available at every level
  • To provide information on infertility to patients
  • To be educational for patients, journalists, the public and health purchasers
  • To show a true partnership of all organisations and individuals working towards helping those suffering from infertility, in the way that best suits each individuals needs.

The emotional and physical impact of infertility should never be underestimated. The NID conference provided help for a great many people in 2002 and 2004, and was hailed by all in attendance as a huge success.

We aim to make 2006's event just as successful. It will provide an unparalleled forum for discussion of all aspects of infertility and for infertility sufferers and their friends and family to inform themselves and to do so in a relaxed atmosphere. We have some excellent speakers, yet again, all who give of their time, travel etc freely. We are more than grateful to each and every one of them.

Keynote speakers in previous years have been Professor Robert Edwards, the pioneer of IVF, in 2002; Melanie Johnson MP, the Under-Secretary of State for Health, in 2004, and this year we are honoured to welcome Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority who will be speaking on 'Putting Patients First'.

We recognise also, however, that health professionals working in the field can benefit from joining NID and we are delighted that each and every year we have welcomed a large number of those working in clinics, nurses, counsellors, embryologists, clinicians, complementary therapists and others. It is heartwarming to see them there as they will take everything they hear back to their clinics which will benefit the patients they are treating.

The most important things we aim to achieve NID are obviously the objectives we set ourselves above. We think we have. We raise awareness by the massive amount of publicity surrounding NID, regionally and nationally - and even internationally, in that we have patient group representatives attending as delegates from the Netherlands, Spain and from as far afield as Japan. We provide information and thereby educate as we cover practically every aspect of infertility with our speakers plus the more than extensive exhibition and the event is open to all.

And the support from everyone involved in NID - sponsors, speakers, chairs of sessions, exhibitors, patient organisations et al - vividly illustrates the partnerships between us all to make NID happen, as we all know how important it is for those desperately trying to achieve their dream. A family. Something which seems so easy for the majority and something which is often forgotten.

And politicians are also recognising the day with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility, led by its Chair, Dari Taylor MP, hosting a reception at the House of Commons in the week preceding NID, recognising the event and reminding politicians of the massive inequality of access to NHS funding of fertility treatment around England and Wales. We thank Dari and her colleagues for their support.

Please support National Infertility Day 2006 - you know it makes sense! To find out more, and to register, visit the NID website or telephone 01274 854119.

14 July 2008 - by Clare Lewis-Jones MBE 
Louise Brown, the world's first IVF baby, will be 30 years old on 25 July 2008. Here Clare Brown, who was among those to speak at a reception organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility to mark next week's National Infertility Day 2008, reflects on three decades of...
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