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Fertility problems to increase after huge rise in STDs

one in six of us will experience fertility problems as STDs continue to rise at an alarming rate, according to a leading support group.

Helen Browne, co-founder and chairperson of the National Infertility Support and Information Group said: "The amount of women struggling to conceive will begin to surge over the next few years due to STDs and infections in the younger years.

CONCERN

"My concern especially applies to women and men in their early twenties who are contracting STDs from unprotected sex."

According to Ms Browne, the call by the nationwide charity was prompted by the frightening figures released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre earlier this year which showed a sharp rise in most sexually transmitted infections.

In the first six weeks of this year there was a surge in cases of chlamydia, Ireland's most common STD which was up from 142 last year to 736.

"The gonorrhoea crisis shows no sign of abating, with 167 cases reported, up 29 on the previous year," Ms Browne said of the same report.

"The number of young women contracting chlamydia, which is the reason for 1 in 60 visits to GPs by women under 45 , is on the rise, rapidly," said the chairwoman the Cork-based organisation.

disease

NISIG recommends chlamydia screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and under as, if untreated, there is a 10-15pc chance of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which seriously impacts on fertility.

"Fertility problems and not being able to conceive a child can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, so for hopeful parents to only discover they can't have children because of an STI they contracted at a younger age is heart-breaking.

They can feel isolated as they are surrounded by family and friends with children so it is devastating," she continued.

NISIG, which receives limited funding from the Government and relies mainly on volunteers, organises monthly support groups for both men and women who are suffering from fertility issues and will be holding a conference on October 11 in Hilton Dublin's Airport Hotel.

NISIG, which was founded in 1996, suggested that more education for young people in the area of sexual health was severely lacking.

Mrs Browne pointed to the latest in-depth data, which showed that 59pc of STDs in Ireland are contracted by those in the 19-20 age bracket.

hnews@herald.ie


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