THE Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU) at The University of the West Indies is urging employers, insurers and financial institutions to respond to the growing levels of infertility by providing options and policies to enable young women to better plan their fertility.
Dr Shaun Wynter, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the HWFMU, told doctors and representatives from banks and insurance companies last Wednesday that infertility is not exclusive to people with money.
“Most of our clients are pretty ordinary people. Most couples in their early 30s just bought their houses, and now it's time for a baby and it's not happening. They don't have any disposable income to put towards this, so it becomes an issue.”
Acting on behalf of Dr Vernon DaCosta, director of the unit, Dr Wynter proposed that stakeholders in Jamaica place more emphasis on fertility planning for young women, as an integral part of family planning.
The 'all-inclusive' cost of one round of in vitro fertilisation at the HWFMU is US $7,500, a cost which they say is the best regionally, but is too high for young women who are focused on achieving other life goals. However, the older they become, the lower the quality of their eggs will be. As such, the unit is encouraging banks to offer loans for young women to store away some eggs in case they need them in the future, and health insurance providers to come up with policies to afford 'fertility planning' to their customers.
Dr Vincent Payet, general manager of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a multinational supplier of fertility drugs, agreed that Jamaica needs to start investing in the fertility of its population to ensure sustainability, citing growing levels of infertility globally.