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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

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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