GENEVA, Switzerland, March 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announces that in collaboration with Cardiff University, it has launched the International Fertility Decision-Making Study, a project aimed at better understanding the decision-making process of couples trying to conceive, in order to optimize Merck Serono's patient support programs. This project is also supported by the International Consumer Support for Infertility (iCSi), a leading network comprising nearly 50 patient organizations worldwide. Translated into several languages, the survey is aimed at women and men currently trying to have a baby in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
There is ample evidence of significant changes in fertility trends worldwide. Fewer men and women are having children, parenthood is postponed to a later age, family size is shrinking, and few people seek medical treatment when they cannot conceive spontaneously, said Dr. Jacky Boivin of Cardiff School of Psychology, Cardiff University and co-leader of the research team.
Dr. Laura Bunting of Cardiff School of Psychology, Cardiff University and co-leader of the research team added: A full understanding of these trends has been limited due to a lack of contemporary data on issues that really make a difference to people deciding whether and/or when to have children. The International Fertility Decision-Making Study will generate data to help understand and address the barriers that make it difficult for today's couples to start families.
Fereydoun Firouz, Head of the Global Business Unit Fertility and Metabolic Endocrinology of Merck Serono declared: International estimates suggest that only 56% of couples with fertility problems seek medical advice and only 22% receive fertility treatment. Merck Serono is proud to partner with Cardiff University in this global initiative, which will help improve understanding of the psychosocial aspects involved and enable us to provide further support to couples facing fertility issues.
The survey is accessible to all women and men aged 18 to 49 years old who are trying to conceive. It includes questions about health status, fertility knowledge and beliefs, experiences and intentions about fertility medical services. Results of the survey will be made available in the second half of 2010.
 Boivin J et al, International estimates of infertility prevalence and treatment seeking: potential need and demand for infertility medical care. Hum Reprod. 2007; 22: 1506-1512
About Merck Serono and Fertility Treatment
Merck Serono is the world leader in fertility treatments, and the only company to offer a full portfolio of fertility drugs for every stage of the reproductive cycle and recombinant versions of the three hormones needed to treat infertility: GONAL-f(R) (follitropin alfa), to stimulate the ovaries and produce eggs in women and spermatogenesis induction in men; Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa), to stimulate follicular development in women who are profoundly LH deficient; Pergoveris(R) (follitropin alfa/lutropin alfa) to stimulate follicular development in women with severe LH and FSH deficiency; Cetrotide(R) (cetrorelix acetate) to prevent a premature ovulation; Ovitrelle(R) (choriogonadotropin alfa), to help follicles mature and release eggs; and Crinone(R) (progesterone gel), to help establish and maintain a pregnancy.
About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative small molecules and biopharmaceuticals to help patients with unmet medical needs. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates through separately incorporated affiliates.
Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R), cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a), infertility (Gonal-f(R), follitropin alpha), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen(R) and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin dihydrochloride) as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R), levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.
With an annual RD expenditure of more than EUR 1bn, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 33,000 employees in 61 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.
SOURCE: Merck Serono
CONTACT: Merck Serono, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland; MediaRelations, Tel: +41-22-414-36-00