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Connacht Tribune

Galway Fertility Clinic sees 20% increase in pregnancy rates

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Galway Fertility Clinic welcomes anyone who may have fertility issues or is concerned about their chances of a pregnancy to a consultation

Galway Fertility Clinic has one of the highest success rates in Ireland when it comes to helping people start or grow a family.

Over the past year or so it has seen a 20% increase in pregnancy rates for clients attending the clinic.

This is thanks to their 20 years’ plus experience in fertility treatment as well as having two of Ireland’s three fertility experts in attendance and the clinic’s high-tech laboratory services.

Galway Fertility Clinic’s laboratory is the only one in Ireland to have two embryoscopes in constant use.

These are special incubators for the storage and development of living embryos. They include time-lapse cameras which allow clinic staff to monitor the development of embryos continuously and identify those which are most suitable for IVF.

‘The embryoscopes have advanced the success rates of IVF hugely here in Galway,’ says Dr Eithne Lowe, Consultant Gynaecologist, who has been with Galway Fertility Clinic since 2001.

‘This is great news for people who are having difficulty starting or growing a family, as we have this word-class technology available right here in our lab in Galway.

However, Dr Lowe points out that IVF is only one of a range of potential treatments for infertility available here.

‘There are many treatment options, ranging from simple lifestyle changes to detailed examinations including ultrasound scans as well as assessments of fertility in both partners before we would consider IVF.

One of the big changes Dr Lowe has seen in her 16 years at the clinic is the increase in age of women presenting for treatment and their lack of understanding of age-related decline in fertility.

There are many misconceptions about fertility in women and aging. Chief amongst them are:

‘I got pregnant easily the first time’.

‘My mother/sister got pregnant in her 40’s so I’ll be able to’.

Often women don’t realise that although they will continue to ovulate until their late 40’s that the older egg cannot produce a pregnancy at all.

Celebrities having babies in their forties – often thanks to egg donation.

Fertility is felt to decline from 38 years on average and 50% of women over 40 will not be able to conceive unaided.

However, these are averages and every woman’s fertility will be different. Some women may go through the menopause (when all eggs are gone) younger than 40 while some will be older than the average age of 52.

‘For social or economic reasons women are deferring starting a family until later in life and this can significantly reduce their chances of conceiving unaided,’ says Dr Lowe.

‘Trying to start a family in your twenties has a much higher chance of success than it does in you-mid thirties.

Galway Fertility Clinic offers a simple blood test as part of its first assessment which measures a woman’s egg reserve.

Even if a woman is not planning to start a family in the short term the AMH test will help her identify how many years of egg reserve she has and thus improve her ability to plan a family.

Dr Lowe cites the example of a couple who were planning to buy a house and start a family in three to four years and who decided to have the AMH test to give them some assurance that this was the right decision for them.

The woman, who was in her late twenties, had lower egg reserves than average for her age and so they decided to start a family first (successfully) and defer the property purchase.

This test costs €50 plus a consultation fee at Galway Fertility Clinic and can prevent a lot of unnecessary anxiety later in life.

It can also allow a woman consider other options such as egg vitrification If she is not ready to start a family right now.

‘Men have it easier’, says Dr Lowe.

‘Women have a finite number of eggs and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

‘However, sperm can regenerate, so while a man may have poor sperm quality a change in lifestyle can mean that this is rectified after three months or so.

Nevertheless, about 30% of fertility issues in couples relate to the male and a simple sperm assessment before the initial consultation can help identify these.

Galway Fertility Clinic was started by Dr Declan Egan in a corridor of the maternity department at the then Regional Hospital, Galway in 1994.

Dr Egan is one of three sub-specialists in Reproductive Medicine in Ireland as is Dr Nikhil Purandare who also took up a position as Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Galway earlier this year.

The medical team is completed by Dr Lowe and Dr Una Conway who is also a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist attached to UHG.

The clinic also employs a medical registrar, seven specialist nurses, four embryologists and four or five administration staff.

It is now housed in modern premises in Knocknacarra in Galway city where they have consulting rooms and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.

The environment is friendly and welcoming with a professional air. All of the nursing staff have been trained in how to support people who may have fertility issues and counselling services are available.

The clinic operates seven days a week so that procedures can be carried out on the right day for the patient.

‘Ovulation cycles don’t recognise weekends’, says Dr Lowe.

What advice would she give to anyone who is thinking of starting a family, even in the medium to long term?

‘If you’re a woman over 30, take the AMH test to see where you are in terms of egg reserves. This will help you decide, in consultation with an expert, if you need to take more immediate action than you might have planned.

‘Don’t smoke. If you do, stop. Smoking damages the reproductive capacity of men and women’, she adds.

Good health and fitness is also a benefit but Dr Lowe warns that over-exercise and endurance sports can have an adverse effect on ovulation.

It can take two to three years for the male reproductive system to recover from over-use of steroids or sports supplements.

‘If you are having trouble conceiving then consult your GP who may decide to refer you to a specialist for immediate treatment, especially if you are a woman over 30,’ says Dr Lowe.

‘With increased knowledge and a wider range of treatments available, up to and including IVF, the Galway Fertility Clinic is well placed to help couples and single women address fertility issues in a professional manner with a higher proportion of successful outcomes.

For more information contact Galway Fertility Clinic here

See also:

What is an embryoscope?

Egg Vitrification available at Galway Clinic

Connacht Tribune

Football’s a funny old game – and you can quote me on that

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If someone actually made it a requirement of your commitment to your job that you run through a brick wall for them, surely the people from health and safety would have to intervene?

And yet this the ultimate tribute a manager pays to their star player, as a way of suggesting he or she would always go the extra yard.

Never mind that the world now measures in metres, but whatever the currency, what would be the point of going a yard or metre further than was required?

Because going the extra yard would mean you’ve gone too far, which sort of defeats the whole plan in the first place.

And yet you hear it all the time, because sports stars have a way of giving an interview which revolves around half a dozen stock answers – all of which leave you none the wiser when it’s over.

Managers learn how to expand on these stock replies to incorporate a whole new range of clichés that fill airtime but answer nothing.

More to the point, they often mean nothing too.

Because where else in life would 100 per cent commitment to the particular cause never be quite enough – given that everyone else was giving 110 per cent?

And yet that too is among those most common clichés expressed in post-match set-piece interviews; packed to the wall with observations that actually mean precisely nothing.

Those post-game interviews were in the news for more serious reasons in recent weeks, after one of the biggest stars of the world of tennis, Naomi Osaka, declined to do them during the French Open because she said that negative questions on her performance were impacting on her mental health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Sporting organisations letting us down by rolling over to NPHET

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Galway players Niamh McGrath and Siobhan Gardiner show their disappointment after falling to Kilkenny in Sunday's National Camogie League final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IRELAND’S various big sporting organisations continue to embarrass themselves in relation to how they are handling the Covid pandemic. Being slaves to public health guidelines is one thing, but these bodies have introduced some rules of their own which are only further alienating their support base.

The GAA, IRFU, the FAI and Horse Racing Ireland may be currently dependent on public finances to keep their respective shows on the road, but that can’t excuse their lack of independent thinking or the fact they are making a deeply frustrating situation worse by adding in their own Covid-19 regulations

In effect, these sporting bodies are trying too hard to please NPHET and it doesn’t seem to matter how much they inconvenience or antagonise their grassroots in the process. Take the GAA, for instance. At club level dressing rooms remain closed and that causes significant irritation, especially on wet days.

Horse Racing Ireland is no better. Two owners per runner have been allowed back at race meetings and while that number is about to increase to four, there has been little enthusiasm among the cohort of people who pay the bills to return. And why would they? – no catering, no bookies and no atmosphere. And the most absurd thing of all is that the racing authorities are still enforcing the mask-wearing regulation.

Imagine still having to use a face covering in what amounts to big open fields. Is Horse Racing Ireland clueless as to how foolish jockeys, trainers, the few owners and media people present are being made to look, especially when the risk of contracting Covid is negligible in such an environment? All the while, beaches, public parks and walkways are milling with people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

The thrill of learning

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Embracing education: Anna Keane who will begin a BA in September; Anne Marie Ward who is doing a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies; Owen Ward who has a Master’s in Education and works at NUIG; and Jason Sherlock who will embark on a Master’s in International Finance in September. All entered NUIG via its Access Programme.

Lifestyle – Most members of the Travelling community are unlikely to finish secondary education and only a tiny proportion go to university. But for people who want an academic education, NUIG is leading the way. Four keen learners share their stories with JUDY MURPHY, among them post-graduate Owen Ward who works in NUIG’s Access Office, assisting people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Starting third-level education can be daunting for even the most confident teenager. Entering a massive campus, meeting so many new people, trying to figure out timetables, deciding what societies to join and just finding your feet – those early weeks can be a challenge.

That’s how Jason Sherlock felt when the young city man began his degree at NUIG in 2018. A member of the Travelling community, Jason had more reason than most to feel daunted in this educational establishment. According to the 2016 Census, only one percent of Travellers go on to third level – although that has increased slightly since then, thanks to people like Jason and his mentor, Owen Ward, a Programme Coordinator in the university’s Access Office.

Jason, who entered university though the Access Programme, which supports students from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’, will begin studying for a Master’s in International Finance in September, having completed a degree in Economics, Sociology and Political Science.

As we meet on the campus at NUIG on a sunny Friday, he recalls having his photo taken by the Tribune 11 years ago, on his final day at Scoil Bhríde National School in Shantalla, where he had never missed a day.

But university was different. Initially, Jason felt it wasn’t for him and almost dropped out of his course. That’s where Owen Ward appeared. Owen who graduated from NUIG in 2014, having also entered via the Access Programme, was back doing a Master’s in Education.  He heard Jason was on campus and went looking for him among the 18,000 students.

“I didn’t know Jason at the time but I knew his father. And I tracked him down,” he recalls with a laugh. Having done that, he was able to support the younger man in those difficult early days. Jason found his feet and with Owen went on to set up Mincéirs Whiden, a new society at NUIG. The first of its kind in any third-level institution, Mincéirs Whiden is for Traveller students but is open to all. Members include students from the settled community, Irish and international.

Anne Marie Ward, who is beginning her third year of a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies, is the incoming chair of Mincéirs Whiden.

She’s also the new Ethnic Minorities Officer for the NUIG Students’ Union, the first member of the Travelling Community to be elected to a position in the student body.  She is Owen’s sister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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