A petition calling for more funding and research into endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) will finally get a hearing as the topic of a UK Parliamentary debate on Monday 18 October.
The petition, which has more than 101,000 signatures, is asking why funding and research into both conditions, which together, affects 10% of women worldwide, are still so “incredibly under prioritised”. The petition is “calling for more funding, to enable new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.”
For women who have endometriosis (a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes) and PCOS, which affects how a woman’s ovaries work; this debate can’t come soon enough. Both conditions predominately affect Black women and people of colour and for those who wish to have children, it can have a great impact.
An expert who sees the effects that endometriosis and PCOS can cause in women’s lives, is Dr James Hopkisson of TFP Fertility Group. He commented on the importance of securing more funds into research.
He told Melan Magazine: “Both endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome are conditions that affect many women and unfortunately contribute to problems with both fertility and quality of life.”
“There is a desperate need to improve the medical management of endometriosis, the majority of which are contraceptive in nature and therefore restrict the chances of conception. All too often women are faced with the stark choice of trying for a family and managing pelvic pain symptoms whilst trying for a family. Sadly, surgery remains one of the few options to improve fertility for women with endometriosis, this not only has risks, can often be complex, may need to be repeated on a number of occasions, and becoming less effective overtime.”
And on PCOS, he said: “PCOS is a condition that affects many aspects of women’s health both short and long term, ranging from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and fertility. From a fertility perspective, there is a need to develop safe and effective treatments.”
The UK Parliamentary debate on research into endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome will be opened by Taiwo Owatemi MP, a member of the Petitions Committee and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
While having this debate could arguably be a step forward in the cause to effect progress in funding for these health issues, as it allows MPs to put their concerns to Government Ministers, will it be enough to garner real support for progress and a commitment to research?
In response to the petition earlier this summer (24 August 2021), the Government said: “The Government recognises the importance of research into endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. The Government is funding a broad range of research through its funding organisations.”
Watch the debate here (from 4.30pm, Monday 18 October)
Read the debate transcript here (available shortly after the conclusion of the debate)
Follow the Committee on Twitter and join the discussion using #EndoPCOSDebate
Watch this space!