According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of infertile couples in the developed countries is 12-15%, out of which 40% is caused by females, 40% by malefactors, and 20% by unknown reasons. We are following the same statistics in Georgia, however, due to Georgia's status as a developing country statistically, the number of infertile couples is up to 18-20%. Only in Tbilisi in 2008-2017 years 79 770 marriages were registered. If we assume the 12-15% range of infertility, we can say that more than 11,000 couples have a problem and by including regions we get more than 35,000 couples having fertility problems.
Taking into consideration the affordability issue and discriminative environment of Georgia, on-time visits to fertility doctors are almost always delayed. It obviously further decreases the chances of successful treatment. The cost of the corresponding laboratory tests, medications, and treatment is expensive, up to 5000 USD. For the people having an average monthly salary of 200-250 USD, it creates additional pressure. In spite of the demographic problem (Negative trend of birth rate) of the country and the huge number of patients having need of treatment, we do not have any government-funded or private insurance scheme supporting couples having fertility problems. The yearly number of patients is increasing, the birth rate is decreasing, on-time treatment is delayed and fully out-of-pocket payment need creates obstacles for intended parents. We have to mention that beneficiaries having treatment affordability problems are regular citizens with the ability to raise the desired child in a loving environment
The goal of this project is awareness-raising around infertility to create a stigma discrimination-free environment for and by the active involvement of intended parents in Georgia.
Activities (some of the activities are already ongoing based on private funding)
1. Launching Independent Facebook page @infertilitytreatmentingeorgia for beneficiaries to share their personal stories (not associated or managed by any local IVF clinic). Test Facebook page is launched https://www.facebook.com/fertilitytreatmentinGeorgia
2. Recruiting 20 couples to develop live episodes of their IVF treatment journey to encourage and motivate other intended parents. As for the clinics, since that would be an advertisement for them we are planning to negotiate discounts for these patients or even try to get free treatment for them.
3. Establishing a patient's membership-based organization to advocate/lobby the elaboration of the infertility treatment programs by the government.
4. Establishing cooperation with the Society of human reproduction and embryology of Georgia to develop guidelines on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of male and female infertility
Who will benefit from this project (Number of people and population served?)
Direct beneficiaries will be:
● 20 couples;
● 1500-2000 members of Association;
Indirect beneficiaries: 6000 intended parents.
● Taking into consideration the number of patients having fertility problems (around 35 000 couples of last 10 years), in case of development of funding programs by the government around 6000 couples can have access to fertility treatment per year (Now around 1000 cycles are performed per year, all paid out of pocket).
Sustainability of the project: we all understand that negotiation with the stakeholders to achieve the project's stated goal is challenging. At the same time, we believe that the direct involvement of intended parents, in the implementation of the project, definitely will bring positive results. We are sure that newly established patient's organization with the right leadership and support of the Rotary club will be able to conduct awareness-raising activities, advocate and lobby to the stakeholders, and at the end of the year with the involvement of the Government and changed policy we can mitigate the inequities in access to safe and effective fertility care.
The outcome of the project:
• Awareness raising program conducted:
• Facebook page established and is an active page
• 20 live episodes recorded
• 20 patients get treatment
• Patients association established
• strategic plan, mission, a vision developed
• Strategic partnerships with stakeholders established
• Funding program/co-founding program launched