Members News
7 April 2015

www.fertiltysa.org.za

Dear SASREG members,

I would like to update you on recent SASREG activities for 2015, and also ask you to save the date for our National SASREG congress:

SASREG NATIONAL CONGRESS: 30 October - 1 November 2015

Investec Conference Centre, Sandton Johannesburg

The "First Announcement" for this exciting congress will be emailed to you shortly. The scientific programme focuses on all the current interesting debates in the field of laparoscopy and infertility. All gynaecologists who are interested in endoscopy or infertility will gain considerably from the meeting, and we look forward to seeing you all there.

For the first time our society will have 2 break-away rooms for:

  1. Embryology/Laboratory Workshops
  2. Fertility Nursing Sisters and Fertility Psychologists / Counsellors.
I ask the IVF units to please provide support for their staff to attend this Congress.

There will be informal, fun social events in the evenings which will allow you to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Please book the date in your diary NOW!

MEETINGS WITH MEDICAL AIDS

Our Society has met with Discovery to discuss and assist with problems relating to the billing codes for Laparoscopy procedures. SASOG requested that we, as their daughter endoscopy body, perform this function. I am pleased to report that the problematic issues were resolved, and I thank all the members of the SASREG committee who assisted me with this process. In particular, Dr Abri de Bruin and Dr Paul Dalmeyer.

Dr de Bruin will now also represent our Society with Discovery to review the structure of the Endoscopy coding system to update it in keeping with modern standards. Many of the codes were put in place years ago, and do not accurately reflect the time or experience needed for the remuneration that is being compensated. Some codes have very low compensation for extensive surgery, and the combinations of codes used are often cumbersome. A review of this system certain seems warranted.

A task team from our Society has also made a detailed presentation to Discovery and other Medical Aid societies regarding future funding for IVF treatment. There may be cost-savings by performing IVF in certain patients from the outset rather than having all patients undergo Endoscopy procedures. Transferring one embryo in funded cycles worldwide has been shown to be cost-effective by reducing multiple birth costs.

This is a lengthy process, which our society has been busy with for three years. It included a detailed Health Economics Review on the topic, which was compiled by a commercial Health Economics Unit. We will keep members informed with feedback from the medical aids as the process unfolds.

MEETINGS WITH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Our Society meets with Department of Health officials on a regular basis to provide input relating to the fertility sections of the National Health Act and the Regulations of the Act. There are still certain areas that are problematic and need amendment. A task team from our Society will continue to give input for new workshops which are being planned by the government in the next few months.

There are also challenges related to the refused applications to allow for a sibling child in the case of sperm and egg donors. Meetings are scheduled with delegates from the Minister's office to address this problem.

The new National Department has taken over the issuing of Import and Export permits for fertility patients. This has been a problem as the officials are seemingly not efficient enough and our Society will also address this problem.

ENDOSCOPIC TRAINING FOR UNDERGRADUATES & POST GRADUATES: THE WINNERS PROGRAMME

Training as well as accreditation for laparoscopic surgery, is a global issue. As a society, we started negotiating two years ago with the ESGE to adopt their training programme, the Winners Programme, in RSA.

The Winners programme has three main pillars:
Winners 1: online tutorials and questionnaires as well as evaluation in a dry lab.
Winners 2: same as winners 1, but more advance skills will be tested in a dry lab and a written examination.
Winners 3: expert level: evaluation in Strasbourg.

ESGE has accredited the Red Cross training unit in Cape Town as a certification centre. This implies that the candidate can do the online tutorials followed by certification for the different levels at the training unit.
We have received funding from SASREG/SAMS and SASOG to have two certification centres in RSA.
The Red Cross training unit is currently the only functioning unit in South Africa for certification purposes and is one of the first units outside of Europe to be accredited.

We will endeavour to structure all the national workshops to facilitate certification. Registration is easy at www.winners.com or www.websurg.com.

You can then register, obtain a number and start with the free online tutorials. Once you have passed the level one tutorial, you can apply for the practical certification at Red Cross Training Unit in Cape Town. There will initially be two dates for certification per annum, but this may change according to demand.
The same will apply for the level two certification.
The aim is to have all our registrars certified at level one and those gynaecologists performing more advance procedures certified at level two.
Important: You can only apply for the practical certification once you have passed the tutorials. We have all the information available on the Winners website.
Please go ahead and enrol and we will have the certification dates on the SASREG and Red Cross website.
Good luck!!

SARA

We recently released the 2012 SARA Report.
Twelve ART centres shared their 2012 data, and nine of these used the SARA on-line programme for data submission. The 2012 report is far more comprehensive than previous reports, containing new information on indication for ART, use of stimulation protocols, mean number of embryos transferred and multiple pregnancy rates.
All participating centres have received electronic and hard copy versions. For copies please email silke.dyer@uct.ac.za.

According to our latest results, 4991 oocyte aspirations were conducted in 2012 resulting in 1567 clinical pregnancies. This represents 6.4% of optimal ART coverage in South Africa with a clinical pregnancy rate per embryo transfer of 35.5% for IVF and 34.3% for ICSI. Just over 70% of all embryos transferred were fertilised by ICSI. Monitoring and reporting the availability and effectiveness of ART in our country is a team effort, and the data are a tribute to all centres participating. We will be shortly calling for the 2013 data as we are overcoming some operational delays.

With SARA well established, we are embarking on an exciting new project namely to establish ANARA: the African Network and Registry for ART.
In order to improve infertility-related reproductive health in our region and allow ART to flourish, we need to collaborate and join forces with all ART centres and role players. Only by working together will we be able to address and overcome the many barriers facing ART in sub-Saharan Africa.
The ANARA project, which is led by ICMART (International Committee Monitoring ART, an NGO in official relations with WHO), has been approved by the SASREG committee and all interested ART centres in South Africa receive regular updates.
To date, communication has been established with role players in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Kenya. This communication triggered the launch of fertility societies in Kenya and Ghana.

The project proposal is currently undergoing Ethics Committee review, following which various funding opportunities will need to be pursued.

For more information contact silke.dyer@uct.ac.za. Africa. Telephone 031 368 8000. Email info@fertilitysa.org.za.

LIAISON WITH INTERNATIONAL SOCIETIES

SASREG continues to enjoy strong links to the following International societies:
- AAGL
- IFFS
- ICMART
- IFFS Surveillance
- ISGE

Many of our Council members are appointed to these organizations and we continue to hold South Africa's name in high esteem.
Thank you to all my fellow Council members for the hard work that goes along with these relationships.

INCORPORATION OF EMBRYOLOGISTS, FERTILITY NURSES AND FERTILITY COUNSELLORS INTO SASREG

Our SASREG Council had a vision of an inclusive society where all disciplines that are professionally recognized would join together under a single umbrella.
This has led to the Embryology SIG (Special Interest Group), Fertility Nurses SIG and hopefully the Fertility Counsellors SIG, which will be formalized at the congress in October. These groups have autonomy to organize their own meetings, website pages and other functions. However, the secretariat from Turner's Conferences now does the administration for all the groups very efficiently, and all SIGs will have a representative on the main SASREG board which to provide a voice from different perspectives.
This has been a positive move and we are really proud of the way that all the groups are working well together.

ACCREDITATION OF IVF UNITS

SASREG currently has a voluntary system of accreditation of IVF unit throughout the country. Our aim is to work with the Department of Health to formally include the government in the process so that legal certification can occur.
This will lead to a general improvement of standards, and also limit possible abuse of patients by units which do not comply with adequate standards.

A task team was set up to liaise with the Department, with a representative from the public sector, private sector and embryology to develop the criteria that would be necessary to start this process.
There have been numerous reviews of the documentation and a test run of a unit, and hopefully the final system will be in place during 2015.
The Department of Health officials will certify the units and check that all the legal documentation is in place. SASREG will provide experts that the Department of Health can utilize to complete the validation check-lists of the units.

ENDOSCOPY WORKSHOPS DURING THE YEAR

SASREG will continue to email any information on Endoscopy workshops that occur, to its members.

GRANTS FOR EMBRYOLOGISTS IN TRAINING

Merck Serono has provided generous grants to SASREG to be awarded to Embryologists in training.
These are grants are designed to assist embryologists with the costs of their research projects and general tuition.
Many embryologists applied, and a panel was set up with clinicians and embryologists from SASREG to award the grants to the successful candidates.
It was encouraging to see a lot of new research projects starting up in the field of Reproductive Biology.

FINALLY

Finally, I thank you all for your continued membership of SASREG.
Please continue to be members and get your colleagues to join the Society that is growing in leaps and bounds.

Modern endoscopic surgery is always a learning curve for all of us, and there are always new exciting techniques to be learned out there. Fertility medicine also provides cutting edge technology and keeping up with new developments is challenging.

Being part of this society and attending our congresses will keep you in touch with these new developments, and allow you to meet colleagues with similar interests. Our membership fees are very affordable and it is well worth joining up!!

Warm Regards

Paul le Roux
President: SASREG
On behalf of the SASREG Council

 

SASREG Secretariat
PO Box 1935, Durban, 4000 South Africa.
Telephone: 031 368 8000.
Email: info@fertilitysa.org.za