[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: To measure Irish opinion on a range of assisted human reproduction (AHR) treatments.
Methods: A nationally representative sample of Irish adults (n=1,003) were anonymously sampled by telephone survey.
Results: Most participants (77%) agreed that any fertility services offered internationally should also be available in Ireland, although only a small minority of the general Irish population had personal familiarity with AHR or infertility. This sample finds substantial agreement (63%) that the Government of Ireland should introduce legislation covering AHR. The range of support for gamete donation in Ireland ranged from 53% to 83%, depending on how donor privacy and disclosure policies are presented. For example, donation where the donor agrees to be contacted by the child born following donation, and anonymous donation where donor privacy is completely protected by law were supported by 68% and 66%, respectively. The least popular (53%) donor gamete treatment type appeared to be donation where the donor consents to be involved in the future life of any child born as a result of donor fertility treatment. Respondents in social class ABC1 (58%), age 18 to 24 (62%), age 25 to 34 (60%), or without children (61%) were more likely to favour this donor treatment policy in our sample.
Conclusion: This is the first nationwide assessment of Irish public opinion on the advanced reproductive technologies since 2005. Access to a wide range of AHR treatment was supported by all subgroups studied. Public opinion concerning specific types of AHR treatment varied, yet general support for the need for national AHR legislation was reported by 63% of this national sample. Contemporary views on AHR remain largely consistent with the Commission for Assisted Human Reproduction recommendations from 2005, although further research is needed to clarify exactly how popular opinion on these issues has changed. It appears that legislation allowing for the full range of donation options (and not mandating disclosure of donor identity at a stipulated age) would better align with current Irish public opinion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To measure Irish opinion on a range of assisted human reproduction (AHR) treatments.
A nationally representative sample of Irish adults (n=1,003) were anonymously sampled by telephone survey.
Most participants (77%) agreed that any fertility services offered internationally should also be available in Ireland, although only a small minority of the general Irish population had personal familiarity with AHR or infertility. This sample finds substantial agreement (63%) that the Government of Ireland should introduce legislation covering AHR. The range of support for gamete donation in Ireland ranged from 53% to 83%, depending on how donor privacy and disclosure policies are presented. For example, donation where the donor agrees to be contacted by the child born following donation, and anonymous donation where donor privacy is completely protected by law were supported by 68% and 66%, respectively. The least popular (53%) donor gamete treatment type appeared to be donation where the donor consents to be involved in the future life of any child born as a result of donor fertility treatment. Respondents in social class ABC1 (58%), age 18 to 24 (62%), age 25 to 34 (60%), or without children (61%) were more likely to favour this donor treatment policy in our sample.
This is the first nationwide assessment of Irish public opinion on the advanced reproductive technologies since 2005. Access to a wide range of AHR treatment was supported by all subgroups studied. Public opinion concerning specific types of AHR treatment varied, yet general support for the need for national AHR legislation was reported by 63% of this national sample. Contemporary views on AHR remain largely consistent with the Commission for Assisted Human Reproduction recommendations from 2005, although further research is needed to clarify exactly how popular opinion on these issues has changed. It appears that legislation allowing for the full range of donation options (and not mandating disclosure of donor identity at a stipulated age) would better align with current Irish public opinion.
Clinical and experimental reproductive medicine. 12/2013; 40(4):169-73.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims: Exposure to a structured curriculum in reproductive medicine during medical school is helpful given the high frequency of fertility and pregnancy-related issues that future physicians will encounter. This study sought to evaluate a new reproductive medicine module for medical students.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Place and Duration of Study: Dublin, Ireland; 2008-2010.
Methodology: A new educational module in reproductive medicine for upper-level medical students was initiated in 2008 at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The module included reproductive endocrinology lectures, laboratory sessions, and direct observation of clinical consultations as a required component of an obstetrics and gynaecology rotation. Students were assigned to this module on the basis of random allocation by departmental administration. The current investigation used an anonymous questionnaire and a MCQ exam to measure academic performance and student acceptance of this module, at launch and again two years later. The first sampling was from the pilot class in 2008 and a second group was evaluated in 2010. No student was in both groups.
Results: 42 of 66 students completed the evaluation in 2008, and 71 of 98 did so in 2010. Mean±SD medical student age and average examination scores were comparable for the two groups. In both samples, most students (95.5%) had no prior lectures on reproductive endocrinology, and most indicated improvement in their level of understanding after the module. Both laboratory and clinical features were scored highly by students.
Conclusion: At present, there is no standardised medical student curriculum for reproductive medicine in Ireland. This report is the first to describe a structured learning experience in this subspecialty area for medical students in Ireland. Additional studies are planned to track knowledge acquisition and career impact specific to reproductive medicine based on this module.
british journal of medicine and medical research. 02/2013; 3(2):466-473.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The unacceptable multiple gestation rate currently associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be substantially alleviated if the routine practice of transferring more than one embryo were reconsidered. While transferring a single embryo is an effective method to reduce the clinical problem of multiple gestation, rigid adherence to this approach has been criticized for negatively impacting clinical pregnancy success in IVF. In general, single embryo transfer is viewed cautiously by IVF patients although greater acceptance would result from a more effective embryo selection method.
Selection of one embryo for fresh transfer on the basis of chromosomal normalcy should achieve the dual objective of maintaining satisfactory clinical pregnancy rates and minimizing the multiple gestation problem, because embryo aneuploidy is a major contributing factor in implantation failure and miscarriage in IVF. The initial techniques for preimplantation genetic screening unfortunately lacked sufficient sensitivity and did not yield the expected results in IVF. However, newer molecular genetic methods could be incorporated with standard IVF to bring the goal of single embryo transfer within reach.
Aiming to make multiple embryo transfers obsolete and unnecessary, and recognizing that array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) will typically require an additional 12 h of laboratory time to complete, we propose adopting aCGH for mainstream use in clinical IVF practice.
As aCGH technology continues to develop and becomes increasingly available at lower cost, it may soon be considered unusual for IVF laboratories to select a single embryo for fresh transfer without regard to its chromosomal competency. In this report, we provide a rationale supporting aCGH as the preferred methodology to provide a comprehensive genetic assessment of the single embryo before fresh transfer in IVF. The logistics and cost of integrating aCGH with IVF to enable fresh embryo transfer are also discussed.
Archives of Gynecology 06/2012; 286(3):755-61. · 0.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To report on relationships among baseline serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) measurements, blastocyst development and other selected embryology parameters observed in non-donor oocyte IVF cycles.
Pre-treatment AMH was measured in patients undergoing IVF (n = 79) and retrospectively correlated to in vitro embryo development noted during culture.
Mean (+/- SD) age for study patients in this study group was 36.3 ± 4.0 (range = 28-45) yrs, and mean (+/- SD) terminal serum estradiol during IVF was 5929 +/- 4056 pmol/l. A moderate positive correlation (0.49; 95% CI 0.31 to 0.65) was noted between basal serum AMH and number of MII oocytes retrieved. Similarly, a moderate positive correlation (0.44) was observed between serum AMH and number of early cleavage-stage embryos (95% CI 0.24 to 0.61), suggesting a relationship between serum AMH and embryo development in IVF. Of note, serum AMH levels at baseline were significantly different for patients who did and did not undergo blastocyst transfer (15.6 vs. 10.9 pmol/l; p = 0.029).
While serum AMH has found increasing application as a predictor of ovarian reserve for patients prior to IVF, its roles to estimate in vitro embryo morphology and potential to advance to blastocyst stage have not been extensively investigated. These data suggest that baseline serum AMH determinations can help forecast blastocyst developmental during IVF. Serum AMH measured before treatment may assist patients, clinicians and embryologists as scheduling of embryo transfer is outlined. Additional studies are needed to confirm these correlations and to better define the role of baseline serum AMH level in the prediction of blastocyst formation.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 12/2011; 9:153. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: This analysis reports on Irish regulatory policies for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) from 2004-2009, in the context of membership changes within the Medical Council of Ireland. To achieve this, the current (2009) edition of the Guide to Professional Conduct & Ethics was compared with the immediately preceding version (2004). The statutory composition of the Medical Council from 2004-2009 was also studied. Content analysis of the two editions identified the following differences: 1) The 2004 guide states that IVF "should only be used after thorough investigation has failed to reveal a treatable cause of the infertility", while the 2009 guide indicates IVF "should only be used after thorough investigation has shown that no other treatment is likely to be effective"; 2) The 2004 stipulation stating that fertilized ovum (embryo) "must be used for normal implantation and must not be deliberately destroyed" is absent from the 2009 guidelines; 3) The option to donate "unused fertilised ova" (embryos) is omitted from the 2009 guidelines; 4) The 2009 guidelines state that ART should be offered only by "suitably qualified professionals, in appropriate facilities, and according to the international best practice"; 5) The 2009 guidelines introduce criteria that donations as part of a donor programme should be "altruistic and non-commercial". These last two points represent original regulatory efforts not appearing in the 2004 edition. The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 reduced the number of physicians on the Medical Council to 6 (of 25) members. The ethical guidelines from 2004 preceded this change, while the reconstituted Medical Council published the 2009 version. Between 2004 and 2009, substantial modifications in reproductive health policy were incorporated into the Medical Council's ethical guidelines. The absence of controlling Irish legislation means that patients and IVF providers in Ireland must rely upon these guidelines by default. Our critique traces the evolution of public policy on IVF during a time when the membership of the Medical Council changed radically; reduced physician contribution to decision-making was associated with diminished protection for IVF-derived embryos in Ireland. Considerable uncertainty on IVF practice in Ireland remains.
Health Research Policy and Systems 06/2011; 9:28. · 1.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guidelines for safe gamete donation have emphasised donor screening, although none exist specifically for testing oocyte recipients. Pre-treatment assessment of anonymous donor oocyte IVF treatment in Ireland must comply with the European Union Tissues and Cells Directive (Directive 2004/23/EC). To determine the effectiveness of this Directive when applied to anonymous oocyte recipients in IVF, we reviewed data derived from selected screening tests performed in this clinical setting.
Data from tests conducted at baseline for all women enrolling as recipients (n = 225) in the anonymous oocyte donor IVF programme at an urban IVF referral centre during a 24-month period were analysed. Patient age at programme entry and clinical pregnancy rate were also tabulated. All recipients had at least one prior negative test for HIV, Hepatitis B/C, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis performed by her GP or other primary care provider before reproductive endocrinology consultation.
Mean (±SD) age for donor egg IVF recipients was 40.7 ± 4.2 yrs. No baseline positive chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis screening results were identified among recipients for anonymous oocyte donation IVF during the assessment interval. Mean pregnancy rate (per embryo transfer) in this group was 50.5%.
When tests for HIV, Hepatitis B/C, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis already have been confirmed to be negative before starting the anonymous donor oocyte IVF sequence, additional (repeat) testing on the recipient contributes no new clinical information that would influence treatment in this setting. Patient safety does not appear to be enhanced by application of Directive 2004/23/EC to recipients of anonymous donor oocyte IVF treatment. Given the absence of evidence to quantify risk, this practice is difficult to justify when applied to this low-risk population.
Reproductive Health 01/2011; 8:8. · 1.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Couples presenting with male factor infertility comprise an important proportion of clinical reproductive endocrinology consultations. Indeed, a problem with the male is the only cause, or a contributing cause, of infertility in ~40% of infertility evaluations. Here we present the first published deliveries obtained from IVF utilising surgically retrieved sperm in Ireland; pregnancy and delivery are also described following transfer of cryopreserved/thawed embryos derived from such sperm. Finding no sperm from a semen analysis in a man without a vasectomy can be a devastating event, and substantially influences the scope of the reproductive endocrinology consultation. Successful treatment of non-obstructive azoospermia is possible without reliance on anonymous donor sperm.
Irish Journal of Medical Science 10/2010; 180(1):251-3. · 0.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: These data describe medical student examination results and course feedback for a new clinical and laboratory training module in reproductive endocrinology and infertility offered to selected medical students (n=66) at the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland.
IFFS 20th World Congress on Fertility & Sterility, Munich, GERMANY; 09/2010
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact of the advanced reproductive technologies on multiple gestation has been well documented in several large populations, but only infrequently in smaller countries, where its effects may be different. This study estimated domestic in vitro fertilisation (IVF) use and multiple gestation rate in Ireland based on two data-reporting platforms.
The number of IVF cycles completed in Ireland was extrapolated from statistics reported to the central European fertility registry (ESHRE) between 1999 and 2004. Multiple gestation data during this period were obtained from the National Perinatal Reporting System (NPRS). These datasets were interlocked to offer a method to track the impact of IVF activity on background multiple gestation rate in Ireland.
Total Irish births registered increased from 54,307 in 1999 to 62,406 in 2004, and multiple gestation rate (per 1,000) fluctuated non-linearly from 27.2 to 31.4 during this time. Reported IVF activity increased from 972 in 1999 to 1,705 in 2004. Annual incidence of multiple gestation appeared strongly correlated with annual number of ETs although statistical significance was not reached (unadjusted Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.6; p = 0.21).
Although IVF providers must continue to reduce multiple births by limiting the number of embryos transferred, this study places national IVF activity in the context of multiple gestations recorded in the general Irish population. These datasets suggest the number of patients undergoing IVF increased steadily in Ireland from 1999 to 2004, but a similar increase in multiple gestation was not observed in the overall Irish population during our study interval. While it is reassuring that increased use of IVF in Ireland did not significantly influence the multiple gestation rate, the absence of a formal data collection method hampers direct and comprehensive monitoring of this phenomenon here.
Archives of Gynecology 05/2010; 282(2):221-4. · 0.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This investigation describes features of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) patients who never returned to claim their embryos following cryopreservation. Frozen embryo data were reviewed to establish communication patterns between patient and clinic; embryos were considered abandoned when 1) an IVF patient with frozen embryo/s stored at our facility failed to make contact with our clinic for > 2 yrs and 2) the patient could not be located after a multi-modal outreach effort was undertaken. For these patients, telephone numbers had been disconnected and no forwarding address was available. Patient, spouse and emergency family contact/s all escaped detection efforts despite an exhaustive public database search including death records and Internet directory portals. From 3244 IVF cycles completed from 2000 to 2008, > or = 1 embryo was frozen in 1159 cases (35.7%). Those without correspondence for > 2 yrs accounted for 292 (25.2%) patients with frozen embryos; 281 were contacted by methods including registered (signature involving abandoned embryos did not differ substantially from other patients. The goal of having a baby was achieved by 10/11 patients either by spontaneous conception, adoption or IVF. One patient moved away with conception status unconfirmed. The overall rate of embryo abandonment was 11/1159 (< 1%) in this IVF population. Pre-IVF counselling minimises, but does not totally eliminate, the problem of abandoned embryos. As the number of abandoned embryos from IVF accumulates, their fate urgently requires clarification. We propose that clinicians develop a policy consistent with relevant Irish Constitutional provisions to address this medical dilemma.
Irish medical journal 04/2010; 103(4):107-10. · 0.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Premature ovarian failure (POF) remains a clinically challenging entity because in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with donor oocytes is currently the only treatment known to be effective.
A 33 year-old nulligravid patient with a normal karyotype was diagnosed with POF; she had a history of failed fertility treatments and had an elevated serum FSH (42 mIU/ml). Oocytes donated by her dizygotic twin sister were used for IVF. The donor had already completed a successful pregnancy herself and subsequently produced a total of 10 oocytes after a combined FSH/LH superovulation regime. These eggs were fertilised with sperm from the recipient's husband via intracytoplasmic injection and two fresh embryos were transferred to the recipient on day three.
A healthy twin pregnancy resulted from IVF; two boys were delivered by caesarean section at 39 weeks' gestation. Additionally, four embryos were cryopreserved for the recipient's future use. The sister-donor achieved another natural pregnancy six months after oocyte retrieval, resulting in a healthy singleton delivery.
POF is believed to affect approximately 1% of reproductive age females, and POF patients with a sister who can be an oocyte donor for IVF are rare. Most such IVF patients will conceive from treatment using oocytes from an anonymous oocyte donor. This is the first report of births following sister-donor oocyte IVF in Ireland. Indeed, while sister-donor IVF has been successfully undertaken by IVF units elsewhere, this is the only known case where oocyte donation involved twin sisters. As with all types of donor gamete therapy, pre-treatment counselling is important in the circumstance of sister oocyte donation.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 03/2010; 8:31. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anonymous oocyte donation in the EU proceeds only after rigorous screening designed to ensure gamete safety. If anonymous donor gametes originating from outside EU territory are used by EU patients, donor testing must conform to the same standards as if gamete procurement had occurred in the EU. In Ireland, IVF recipients can be matched to anonymous donors in the Ukraine (a non-EU country). This investigation describes the evolution of anonymous oocyte donor screening methods during this period and associated results. Data were reviewed for all participants in an anonymous donor oocyte IVF programme from 2006 to 2009, when testing consistent with contemporary EU screening requirements was performed on all Ukrainian oocyte donors. HIV and hepatitis tests were aggregated from 314 anonymous oocyte donors and 265 recipients. The results included 5,524 Ukrainian women who were interviewed and 314 of these entered the programme (5.7% accession rate). Mean age of anonymous oocyte donors was 27.9 years; all had achieved at least one delivery. No case of hepatitis or HIV was detected at initial screening or at oocyte procurement. This is the first study of HIV and hepatitis incidence specifically among Ukrainian oocyte donors. We find anonymous oocyte donors to be a low-risk group, despite a high background HIV rate. Following full disclosure of the donation process, most Ukrainian women wishing to volunteer as anonymous oocyte donors do not participate. Current EU screening requirements appear adequate to maintain patient safety in the context of anonymous donor oocyte IVF.
Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology: the journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 01/2010; 30(6):613-6. · 0.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This investigation describes features of patients undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET) where both gametes were obtained from anonymous donors.
Gamete unsuitability or loss was confirmed in both members of seven otherwise healthy couples presenting for reproductive endocrinology consultation over a 12-month interval in Ireland. IVF was undertaken with fresh oocytes provided by anonymous donors in Ukraine; frozen sperm (anonymous donor) was obtained from a licensed tissue establishment. For recipients, saline-enhanced sonography was used to assess intrauterine contour with endometrial preparation via transdermal estrogen.
Among commissioning couples, mean+/-SD female and male age was 41.9 +/- 3.7 and 44.6 +/- 3.5 yrs, respectively. During this period, female age for non dual anonymous gamete donation IVF patients was 37.9 +/- 3 yrs (p < 0.001). Infertility duration was >/=3 yrs for couples enrolling in dual gamete donation, and each had >/=2 prior failed fertility treatments using native oocytes. All seven recipient couples proceeded to embryo transfer, although one patient had two transfers. Clinical pregnancy was achieved for 5/7 (71.4%) patients. Non-transferred cryopreserved embryos were available for all seven couples.
Mean age of females undergoing dual anonymous donor gamete donation with IVF is significantly higher than the background IVF patient population. Even when neither partner is able to contribute any gametes for IVF, the clinical pregnancy rate per transfer can be satisfactory if both anonymous egg and sperm donation are used concurrently. Our report emphasises the role of pre-treatment counselling in dual anonymous gamete donation, and presents a coordinated screening and treatment approach in IVF where this option may be contemplated.
Reproductive Health 01/2010; 7:20. · 1.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anonymous oocyte donation and participation in organ and blood/tissue donation programmes were studied specifically among Irish fertility patients.
An anonymous questionnaire measured patient perceptions of, and participation in, blood/organ/tissue donor programmes, and to record opinion on anonymous donor oocyte compensation.
A total of 337 patents were sampled; 56.7% had no children. None had participated in a donor oocyte programme either as donor or recipient. At baseline, 19.6% had previous in vitro fertilisation experience, more than one-third (35.9%) had donated blood anonymously, 19.9% were organ/tissue donors and 52.2% indicated that anonymous oocyte donors should receive some compensation. We found patients with infertility for extended periods were more likely to view oocyte donation favourably, compared to those with infertility of shorter durations (p = 0.022, by Krusksal-Wallis Rank Sum test). Average recommended compensation for anonymous oocyte donor was euro 2177 (range euro 200-euro 9500), and most (77.2%) favoured confidential protections for recipient and donor identity.
This is the first investigation of blood and organ/tissue donation features among fertility patients in Ireland; the rate of blood donation in this group was more than 10 times higher than in the general Irish population. Protection of anonymity for both donors and recipients was supported by most patients, even opponents of compensated anonymous donation. Further studies should clarify patient perceptions about oocyte donation as a function of involvement in organ/tissue procurement programmes and blood banks.
Human Fertility 01/2010; 13(2):98-104. · 1.60 Impact Factor