Friday, August 1, 2014

August is Fertility Awareness Month: Merck Serono and Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction Collaborates for Take the Next Baby Steps Campaign

One in every 10 Filipinos suffer from infertility based on a study commissioned by leading pharmaceutical firm Merck Sereno. Merck Sereno is a biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA with its headquarters based in Darmstadt, Germany. In the hope to debunk myths, lack of understanding, awareness and misconceptions surrounding fertility among couples in Asia, Merck Serono has partnered with Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE) to launch Take the Next Baby Steps campaign aims to educate on the procedures involved and encourage couples to seek consultation, and eventually treatment. The earlier they sought for help, the better it will be because age is one of the most important factor affecting fertility. Merck said one of the barriers for treatment is the misconception that treatment is not available locally or that it is more effective in other countries. 

The Take the Next Baby Steps campaign will take place in August 2014 and will be implemented across eleven countries in Asia---Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Merck Serono in collaboration with ASPIRE raises awareness in the said countries in Asia on infertility treatment options, educational videos, providing listings or a directory of medical experts and treatment centers that specializes in fertility. 

What most people do not realize is that infertility is a disease of the reproductive system measured by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse among married couples. Most couples become busy with their respective work after marriage that having a baby isn't part of their priority. However, when the time comes that they are planning to have a child, it sometimes become a problem because of a lot of factors. 

The educational video tackles the emotional perspectives of infertility. It provides couples wanting to start a family with knowledge of factors affecting fertility, tests and procedures involved in fertility treatment. Merck Serono and ASPIRE made sure that the video has a positive and uplifting element to reflect on the hopelessness felt normally by couples who are in fertility journey. I'm sure couples can easily relate to the video. I personally encourage you to visit the website to watch the video and be anle to learn from it. 

Here are the following key risk factors in fertility: 

*Smoking--When both couples smoke, it reduces the possible benefit of fertility treatment. The chance of pregnancy is also reduced and miscarriages are most common in women who frequently smoke. Men on the other hand have a lower sperm count and motility. They are also prone to increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function. 

*Alcohol-Just as it is in smoking, with women, any alcohol intake should be a no-no. Excessive alcohol intake increases risk of birth defects and makes a woman more difficult to conceive. For men, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day may affect levels of testosterone, semen volume, sperm count and quality. 

*Lifestyle--If you live on a sedentary lifestyle and thereby making you overweight, a man's sperm count can be affected by means of being overweight. Women with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia as well as those following a very low caloric diet also affects ovulation. Obesity makes it difficult for women and men to become fertile. 

This month of August, let's join hands and celebrate Fertility Awareness Month. The campaign aims to raise awareness among married couples age below 40 and encourage them to seek help early if they have been trying for a baby for at least a year if they are aged 35 or six months of they are above 35, without any success.
For more information, please visit,, log on to Merck's as well

Watch the Take the Next Baby Steps video on YouTube.

Special thanks to my blog contributor, Norma Galera.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions are my own. 

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