There’s been a lot of press coverage this week about the recent cuts to IVF on the NHS – several Clinical Commissioning Groups are now considering restricting treatment to women aged 30 to 35. Someone said to me that infertility only gets this sort of attention from the media when things are slow in the news. It’s true the silly season is upon us but it doesn’t seem like the news has been either slow or silly this week – after all two men seem to be threatening to blow us up. I know this kind of begs the question why you would want to bring a child into the world but, whilst we’re all still here, I agreed to appear on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live to talk about IVF (not North Korea).
At best when people argue against IVF on the NHS, they just don’t understand the devastation it causes. At worst, there’s a covert implication that somehow it’s your own fault and you should just get over and on with it. It worries me when people on the other side of the argument – as there were on the show today – haven’t experienced the struggle to conceive themselves, yet seem so confident about dismissing treatment for what has been classified by the World Health Organisation as a disease.
For me, the bottom line is this: do we want a National Health Service that thinks it’s ok to propogate inequality? Is it right that the majority of public health care providers in this country are going against the guidelines of the Government agency which was established to promote clinical excellence and says that all women under the age of 40 struggling to conceive should be given three rounds of IVF? It won’t be long before your right to try for a baby, will be based on your ability to pay. Are we really saying that’s OK?
The producer of the show told me that they wanted to hear a little about my story – eleven rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatment usually piques people’s interest – and the fact that I am still pro IVF can come as a surprise. But I know that this reproductive technology does work. Not everytime for everyone – I am proof of that – but in the forty years since it was invented it has given millions of people the family they dream of. As long as those two men haven’t done what they’re threatening and we still have a world, why would we want to deny anyone a chance at that?