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Everyone Deserves the Chance to Nurture a Child

Everyone Deserves the Chance to Nurture a Child

Charity Launched to Support Research into Infertility, Miscarriage and Pregnancy Complications

A group of leading New Zealand doctors, researchers and supporters has launched a fundraising charity to support medical research aimed at helping more New Zealanders realise their dream of nurturing a child.

Frustrated by the lack of public funding for reproductive research into areas such as infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy complications, the group has launched ‘The Nurture Foundation’ with the aim of attracting public donations and corporate support for this much needed area of medical research.

Spokesperson Cindy Farquhar, who was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the recent Queens Birthday Honours list for her work in women’s health, says many thousands of New Zealanders have personal experience of the grief associated with unwanted childlessness or pregnancy loss, and most deal with it very privately.

“The private nature of these problems means they’re easily over looked when it comes to public funding allocations. This is evidenced by the fact that of the 13 population health objectives outlined in New Zealand’s Health Strategy none specifically relates to reproductive health.”

An additional $750 million was allocated to the health sector in this year’s budget, but the lions share is earmarked for addressing the obesity epidemic. Cindy says, “While we can appreciate the focus on lifestyle diseases such as obesity, it’s frustrating to researchers in women’s health to see no new initiatives that will lead to improvements in fertility, reproduction, or pregnancy outcomes.”

“It’s well known that the incidence of infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy complications will only increase in the coming decade. Already one in six couples is affected by infertility, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and one in five first time mothers experiences serious pregnancy complications.”

“As a group of doctors, researchers and supporters we have reached the conclusion that the public funding outlook is unlikely to change, so the only way we will boost research monies available for reproductive research is to take ownership of the problem ourselves.”

We firmly believe that everyone deserves the chance to nurture a child and hope the many New Zealanders whose lives have been touched by infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy complications, or whose family and friends have been affected will help us to fund valuable research that may save others from similar heartache.

Those wanting further information on The Nurture Foundation are invited to visit where there is an online donation form for those wanting to make a contribution. Donations are tax deductible.


Nurture Foundation patron

Sir Graham Liggins, CBE, KB, MBChB (Otago), PhD, FRCS(Edin.), FRACS, FRCOG, FRNZCOG, FRS, FRSNZ, Professor Emeritus

Sir Graham Liggins is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most internationally famous medical scientists. In the Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology since 1960, he pioneered the treatment of babies while still in the womb.

Sir Graham is best known for his research into the mechanisms which initiate labour. He solved the perplexing question as to how the time of birth was determined. Sir Graham showed that it was the foetus – and not the mother as generally believed – who controlled birth. Sir Graham is also renowned for his research into preventing lung disease in premature babies. Millions of preterm babies around the world are alive today as a direct result of his work.
Nurture Foundation trustees

David Becroft (chairman), ONZM, MD, FRCPA, FRACP, FRC Path, (hon) FRANZCOG

David Becroft is an Aucklander who from 1959 to 1992 was Pathologist-in-Charge of the clinical laboratories of the Princes Mary Hospital for Children (now Starship) and perinatal pathologist at the National Womens Hospital. His interests and publications cover a wide range of topics in child health and perinatology.

Since retirement he has served terms as Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Cancer Society of New Zealand and as President of the International Paediatric Pathology Association. He has maintained close associations with the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of Auckland and with research projects in perinatal and infant health and pathology of the placenta. In 2001 he was appointed ONZM for services to medicine.

Cynthia Farquhar MBChB, MD, DipObst, MRCOG, FRANZCOG, CREI, MPH, MNZM

Cindy is the Postgraduate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include infertility, menstrual disorders, and the long term effects of hysterectomy. Cindy is the co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group, which was established in 1996. She is also the Chairman of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee and Deputy Chairman of the New Zealand Guidelines Group.

Cindy’s clinical work takes place at Fertility Plus, the reproductive medicine unit of National Women’s Hospital. With clinical interests in polycystic ovarian syndrome, pelvic pain, endometriosis and managing abnormal uterine bleeding, Cindy conducts three specialist clinics and has a weekly operating list.

Mariette van Ryn, BA LLB
An internationally recognised leading Banking & Finance lawyer, Mariette van Ryn heads Simpson Grierson's Banking and Finance Department and is a member of Simpson Grierson's Board.
Mariette has been qualified for 25 years and has specialised in banking and finance law since late 1986. Her expertise encompasses a banking and finance advisory role, together with an extensive banking and finance litigation practice.
She is named as a leading lawyer in Asia Pacific Legal 500 and a recommended lawyer in Global Counsel 3000. Among her numerous external appointments Mariette is Vice President of the Australia/New Zealand Banking & Financial Law Services Law Association; Member of the Institute of Directors and Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.

William Stevens, BBS, NZSE Dip

William has worked in the stock broking and investment advisory industry for twenty years and is a director of ABN AMRO Craigs. Prior to entering the finance industry he was a Lieutenant Commander in the New Zealand Navy.

In addition to his role as a Nurture Foundation trustee, William is also a trustee of the Dingwall Trust for Children, and is Deputy Chairman of NZX Discipline.

Andrew Shelling, BPhEd, BSc, PhD

Associate Professor Dr Andrew Shelling is head of the Medical Genetics Research group, which looks at the molecular changes that occur during the development of genetic disorders, including infertility and reproductive cancers.

Andrew completed his PhD at the University of Otago. He received the prestigious Nuffield Medical Fellowship in 1992, studied the genetics of ovarian cancer at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, and returned to New Zealand in 1995 to take up his current post as Deputy Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Auckland.

Marie Hosking, Public Relations Consultant

Marie is an Account Director with public relations consultancy Network PR. A trustee since 2003, she has been involved with the development and launch of the Nurture Foundation’s new visual identity, website and overall communications programme. Marie is a former member of the Fertility New Zealand executive and the committee of the Auckland Infertility Society.


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