Conception misconceptions research for the stork reveals heartbreaking choices

Conception misconceptions research for the stork reveals heartbreaking choices
FINANCIAL pressures are forcing women to delay their dreams of motherhood, and many are discovering the odds are against them by the time they try for a baby. That’s according to new research by The Stork, a clinically proven home-use medical device which helps couples conceive.

All of the women questioned in the research poll were hoping to become mums, and more than half (56%) thought the ideal time to start a family was between the ages of 25 and 30 — yet three out of four admitted that parenthood would not be part of their plans until they were in their thirties.

The biggest barriers to motherhood are economic, with three-quarters (75%) of those surveyed blaming their financial position, even more than those saying finding the right partner was a problem (59%). Just over half (51%) said their plans will, or already have been, influenced by their career and just under half (44%) said housing is, or has been, an issue.

Women’s health expert, Dr Catherine Hood says: “Women are learning the hard way that they cannot have it all. When you are juggling the competing demands of finances, career, the demands of a loving relationship and your fertility it’s almost inevitable that something gets dropped.

“The truth is, fertility is often out of our control, and no amount of planning and preparation can detract from the fact that women’s fertility begins to fall away sharply after 35 and men’s fertility is not far behind.”

She warns: “Sadly, by the time they feel they are in a good position to become a parent, many women discover that nature may need a helping hand.”

When that happens, the Stork Conception Aid offers an effective alternative to expensive and often emotionally exhausting IVF treatment. The Stork looks like a condom, but it is a simple-to-use medical device which allows couples to perform DIY intracervical insemination (ICI) — a clinically proven technology with a success rate of around 20% on first use.

Real World data presented at last year’s Fertility Show confirmed that at least 300 babies have been born as a result of couples using The Stork since it became available in the UK, But Dr Hood says the real figure is probably much higher.

She explains: “The published data is based solely on couples who contacted the manufacturer, telling them they have become parents after using The Stork. Given that infertility is such a sensitive subject, and the number of kits which have now been sold, I am sure there are many, many more success stories we have not heard about.”

The Stork streamlines and simplifies ICI by combining a condom-like sheath with a cervical cap to create what is known as a Conceptacle.

Couples using The Stork are advised to make love around the time of ovulation, and after natural intercourse the condom-like sheath is simply rolled down and off the cervical cap. The sperm-filled cap is then placed in an applicator, similar to those used insert a tampon, to position the cap on the cervix.

The cervical cap is left in place for 4 to 6 hours, to enable sperm to swim upwards to fertilise the woman’s egg. During this time, she is free to go about her day-to-day activities and after the 4 to 6 hours has elapsed, the cap can be removed via a string-pull, as a tampon is.

Dr Hood comments: “It may sound a little fiddly, but a study to check the usability and safety of The Stork, which was undertaken as part of the United States FDA approvals process, returned 100% scores across the board.”

She says: “The Stork will not solve every fertility issue, but there is no doubt that it can improve the odds of conception and it costs a fraction of the amount involved with in-clinic procedures.”

The Stork survey found that three out of four of the women who were questioned were already considering IVF, or thought it was an option. But for many the only hope it offers is false hope. Almost three out of four (72%) women under 35 who have treatment will face failure, and success rates fall with every birthday. For women aged 35 to 37, the failure rate is 76%; it climbs to 82% for those aged 38 to 39 and for women aged 40 to 42 the failure rate is 89%.

Many of the women putting motherhood on hold don’t realise that NHS rationing of fertility treatment is now widespread and just two out of 209 Clinical Care Groups in England provide the three full cycles of IVF recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Almost half (44%) the women surveyed were aware of the potential for unpleasant side-effects with IVF, with the most common concerns being feeling down or irritable (49%); headaches (42%): hot flushes (28%) and restlessness (26%).

Only one in five was aware of the risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation — perhaps the most serious potential problem.

The survey also revealed the enormous psychological impact of fertility issues, with almost nine out of ten (86%) of the women questioned admitting to some degree of emotional fall-out.

Most said they felt upset that other women could conceive without difficulty (64%) and more than half (52%) admitted they felt a failure, or less womanly, because they had not been able to conceive. Almost as many (48%) felt isolated around family and friends with babies and that the pressure to conceive was taking the pleasure from love-making (47%).

Dr Hood says: “The Stork will not solve every fertility issue, but there is no doubt that it can improve the odds of conception and it costs a fraction of the amount involved with in-clinic procedures.

“Another big plus is that The Stork is a medical device, not a medicine, so there are no drugs or ovulation stimulating hormones involved — because the truth is, we don’t really know the long-term health impact of the high doses of hormones used in fertility treatment.”

1 - Corson SL, Batzar FR, Otis C, Fee D. The cervical cap for home artificial insemination. J Reprod. Med., 1986, May; 31 (5): 349-52.
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