Some of the world’s top fertility experts will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa in March for the continent’s first ever Fertility Show
But alongside the science and expertise will be a Support Zone aimed at helping African women and men break the taboo about talking about infertility and IVF Babble is proud to sponsor this fantastic initiative.
People in Africa deserve and need the same support as the rest of the world. Michelle Obama, the USA’s former first lady, raised awareness of the taboo among black women when she bravely detailed the story of her miscarriage over 20 years ago and how her daughters Sasha and Malia were the result of IVF.
Her fertility journey as a black African American has encouraged people across Africa to start to speak about their fertility issues. Africa has many communities. Infertility is difficult to talk about – especially for men. It will take time to fully open up discussions. The Support Zone at Fertility Show Africa is just the start.
For the first time an IVF Registry has been set up to log progress on the continent. The first figures show that there are now 40 clinics supporting fertility in 13 different countries across Africa. Over 25,000 cycles of IVF have been carried out with success rates running at 28% for IVF and 36% with ICSI, which compares well with the rest of the world.
But behind the statistics are the human tales of women and men striving to have children and that is what the Support Zone is about
At the show IVF Babble will be announcing the results of the latest give away of free IVF treatments donated by clinics across the world. An initiative that shows how generous and caring the fertility experts around the world can be.
All who care about fertility are beginning to turn their focus on Africa and IVFbabble spoke to two women who know just how important raising fertility awareness is.
Elizabeth Carr, the first IVF baby born in the USA supports this fantastic initiative
As second baby born through IVF in the world, Elizabeth says “The path forward in so many countries is continued dialogue and awareness. The best way that awareness and education is going to spread is on a grassroots level – with one person being brave enough to open up to other to tell her story.”
Candice Thum, the first IVF baby in Australia is backing the IVF Babble initiative too
She said: “We know there continues to be knowledge gaps when it comes to understanding fertility health. Part of the reason these gaps exist is because education of young adults has not changed in a really long time.
“It is estimated that infertility in Africa affects one in six couples, so that means in Southern Africa alone there are eight million people who suffer from infertility. That is why it is incredibly important for an event like this to raise awareness.”
Candice co-founded Fertility Matters with first generation IVFling Rebecca Featherstone Jelen in Australia to promote better education in all high schools across Australia
They believe similar initiatives are needed to help teenagers and young adults across Africa.
With American supermodel Tyra Banks opening up in recent years about her fertility journey there are now some great role models for black African women
Tyra Banks told the world: “It’s so funny when I was 23, I would tell myself, “In three years, I’m gonna have kids!” and then I turned 24 and I’s say, “In three years I’m going to have kids!” And then every single year I kept saying that and then after a while it’s like, okay now I want to and it’s not so easy.”
Problems are magnified even more for women in many parts of Africa where there isn’t the amount of support and help and established network of IVF clinics that you get in the West
But the story is the same for every childless person, no matter what part of the world they are in and the IVF community is now reaching out to Africa to provide help, information, support and practical advice.
IVF has been growing worldwide for over 40 years, since the birth of the very first baby Louise Brown in the UK after the pioneering work of Bob Edwards and Patrick Steptoe. Louise has supported African initiatives in the last few years visiting Morocco and Egypt to attend IVF conferences.
Fertility Show Africa, a catalyst for change
Heidi Warricker, CEO and organiser of Fertility Show Africa (FSA) believes the event which will take place in in Johannesburg on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Gauteng will be a catalyst for change. More than 3000 visitors are expected.
She said: “It is a first for South Africa to have all these world experts under one roof sharing their knowledge and expertise.”
Twenty of the experts are taking time out to visit the Support Zone where there is a full programme of help and advice on a whole range of topics for those on their fertility journey.
You can find all the information about this ground-breaking event here: