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Researchers win grant to investigate fertility treatments

Olga van den Akker and Helen Allan lead SRIP research grant application to investigate the area of IVF/ICSI conception and delivery of a baby

Mother and babyMiddlesex University’s researchers are going to investigate early parenthood experiences of infertile couples after successful fertility treatment as part of winning a development grant award.

The research group, which includes Professor of Health Psychology Olga van den Akker and Professor of Nursing Helen Allan, won the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) grant award to run a workshop to develop a collaborative team for investigating the implications on IVF/ICSI conception and delivery of a baby for couples' lives in early parenthood.

A service user representative from Infertility Network UK (INUK) and colleagues representing sociology, psychology, health visiting, midwifery, nursing and counselling are joining the workshop to discuss current practice issues and identify research gaps in providing care to this group of infertile couples.

“The SRIP award will allow us to consult with services users and professionals providing services to infertile couples and determine a research question,” said Professor Allan.

“We will address this gap in research with our focus on transition to early parenthood for infertile couples, on fatherhood as well as motherhood, and on our use of mixed methods as an interdisciplinary team, which includes a strong service user perspective. This work has relevance both nationally and internationally.”

The research team includes five members from various academic institutions around the UK and Australia. Working alongside Professor van den Akker and Professor Allan are Professor Lorraine Culley at De Montfort University, Dr Andrew Symon at the University of Dundee and Professor Sheryl de Lacey at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.

This grant application is the first stage in an application for funding to investigate the early parenting experiences of infertile couples after successful non-donor IVF led by Professor Allan.

Underexplored in the international literature, a potential health need was identified in existing research - this was ignored by policy makers but acknowledged by service users in the UK, according to the group.

Professor van den Akker is a member of the Applied Health Psychology Research Group at the University while Professor Allan is a member of the Centre for Critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery.

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