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Conservatives call for more NHS funds, fertility problems linked to psychiatric disorders, and extend the age limit for male sperm donors

The top story from the weekend was the growing calls from senior Coalition MPs -including former health minister Paul Burstow, and former health select committee chair, Stephen Dorrell – to boost funding for the NHS.

The BBC reports that the new chair of the of the House of Commons Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, said the NHS was facing ‘crunch time’ and that funding must increase to match rising inflation in the health sector.

Dr Wollaston told the BBC: ‘We have protected spending on health. It is rising in line – just above – background inflation, but inflation in the health sector is much higher because we have got an ageing population.’

‘Personally, I’d like to see services continue to improve, so I think in order to achieve that we are going to need an increase in funding.’

The Guardian reports that children born to mothers with fertility problems are 33% more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders in future according to a new long-term study.

Danish researchers followed a cohort of 124,000 children born to mothers with fertility problems and found that they had increased risk of conditions including schizophrenia or psychoses, anxiety or neuroses, and learning difficulties or mental development disorders.

Other researchers have expressed scepticism saying the results were ‘staggering’. Yacoub Khalaf, medical director of the assisted conception unit at Guy’s Hospital in London, said: ‘The figures are staggering and at odds with anything that’s been reported so far.’

And the Independent reports that the age limit for men wishing to donate their sperm should be extended to 45 as new research has found sperm from older donors does not impact birth rate.

Dr Meenakshi Choudhary of Newcastle Fertility told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s sperm quality rather than male age that matters. Our results suggest that, up to the age of 45, there is little effect of male age on treatment outcome.’

However Professor Allan Pacey, chairman of the British Fertility Society, argued against raising the age limit, and said: ‘I get little whispers, with pressure increasing due to the lack of sperm donors, that people are not adhering to accepted levels of sperm quality, and that is a worry.’

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