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Fitzgerald supports including fertility information in schools’ sex education curriculum

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP


Tuesday 6th June 2023


Fitzgerald supports including fertility information in schools’ sex education curriculum

Recommendations included in newly published white paper on fertility

Dublin MEP Frances Fitzgerald will today (06 June 2023) launch a new white paper in the European Parliament on improving equal access to fertility treatment across Europe. "The Imperative of Equal Access to Fertility Treatments across Europe – White Paper", produced by Fertility Europe jointly with the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights, contains a number of recommendations, including a proposal to include fertility information as part of comprehensive sexuality education in schools as well as better funding for treatment.

Across Europe, 1 in 6 couples or 25 million people experience infertility. The HSE also states that around 1 in 6 heterosexual couples in Ireland may experience infertility. Fertility Europe has previously ranked Ireland 40th out of 43 countries for access to fertility treatment. Despite a commitment in Budget 2023 to publicly fund IVF in Ireland for the first time, no further clarity has been provided as to how this will be implemented.

The report includes other recommendations such as:

  • Providing sufficient funding to cover the full range of fertility treatments for those who need them

  • A legal guarantee of access to treatment, without discrimination

  • Psychological supports for those dealing with infertility

  • Creating a central and mandatory European register of all treatments and donations

Frances Fitzgerald MEP said, “We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the heartbreak of infertility faced by many couples. Today’s white paper includes a number of ambitious and common sense proposals for how to raise awareness of this issue and to improve access to treatment. The first solution must be to inform people about the facts. This is why the proposal to include fertility information in our curriculum for relationship and sexuality education is so important.

“One in six couples may experience infertility however these voices are rarely heard in our public discussions. Treatments are available and if we do not give people the information they need they may continue to silently struggle alone. Ireland does not have a great record in this area. We have made many commitments, including for publicly funded IVF, but it is important that these commitments be fully upheld.

“Today’s report also includes a proposed legal guarantee of access to treatment and sufficient funding for all treatments. We need to see action on this from the Department of Health. Across Europe governments are funding treatments, supporting couples and families to deal with infertility. Ireland should not be bottom of the class.

“This white paper is an important document. I call on Government leaders in Ireland and across Europe to take it into account and implement its recommendations without delay.”

ENDS

Notes to the editor: The full white paper can be read here: https://fertilityeurope.eu/about-fe/our-mission/white-paper2023/


Contact: Michael Ward




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