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We helped inFertile Life to:

  • Identify statements that do not align with the best available evidence/guidelines
  • Identify areas where some contradictory information exists
  • Make evidence sources clearer for the reader
  • Ensure all evidence cited is from systematic reviews or guidelines.

1 in 7 adults in the UK experience fertility challenges. Over the 40 years since the birth of the first test-tube baby, IVF treatment has become more accessible, but the fertility industry largely fails to account for the human being as a whole, with environmental, physical and mental health affecting (and affected by) a person's fertility.

inFertile Life provides a five-week programme which coaches patients to embrace a holistic approach to their fertility. They came to SimDH needing our team to support them by scrutinising the evidence that underpins the inFertile Life programme; researching into the health information needs of those who currently, or may in the future, want to gain information about fertility and fertility services and gathering user feedback on the inFertile Life website.

SimDH Academics Dr Susie Sykes and Jane Wills are committed to spending a total of 452 hours on the project. They carried out:

  • A review of statements made in the programme regarding factors that promote or inhibit fertility
  • Identification of whether the programme adequately supplies supporting evidence where needed
  • A search of additional current evidence not cited
  • Telephone interviews with 27 participants across 5 identified population groups to research the health information needs of people with fertility concerns
  • A focus group to provide feedback on the use of the inFertile Life programme.

SimDH is also providing inFertile Life with ongoing business mentorship.

The results to date:

  • Academic poster for the London Doctoral Academy
  • Abstract accepted for the European Public Health Conference
  • Research paper being produced
  • The SimDH research collaboration with inFertile Life is ongoing.

Research findings:

SimDH identified five overlapping themes that emerged through the interviews about general online information in the context of fertility. These support the need for the inFertile Life service:

  1. The issue of fertility is particularly complex and difficult to discuss with friends and family ... some participants refer to it as taboo. Others experience feelings of vulnerability when broaching the topic.
  2. Motivators for accessing information are, firstly, pursuit of factual information about their situation and services; and secondly, information about personal experiences.
  3. Accessing information online is a complex process. First point of access, types of platforms, topics searched and gaps in information confuses research participants.
  4. Numerous first point of access ranged from friends, leaflets and magazines to the NHS and voluntary sector organisations. Frustrations particularly occur when first contacting health professionals about fertility concerns, due to the limited information provided.

The focus group discussions revolved around accessing the site, the extent to which they felt it met users' needs and motivated them to engage as well as issues of trust and credibility.  

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