I am sat here very concerned about the future of IVF...
For a while now there has been much controversy regarding fertility treatments in the UK. NICE guidelines clearly state that couples who are infertile should be entitled to three cycles of treatment. However, this very rarely happens. There is a postcode lottery, some health trusts do provide the recommended three cycles but some do not provide any government funded treatment. Further stipulations are placed on couples due to already having children, weight restrictions etc before couples are placed on the waiting list for treatment. Waiting lists across the country are also very different and some couples can wait a long time before commencing treatment.
As anyone who is infertile knows it is certainly possible to have a baby within three cycles and many couples will be successful with the treatment that the NHS funds for them. There are also many couples who will need many more cycles before they have a successful pregnancy. This means that they will have to go to a private clinic and pay for treatment. This also does not really include people that have already had a child, either through the usual process with a previous partner or through fertility treatment. It indicates that once you have one child you should be happy with that and not want another child. Obviously many people want more than one child and it will also mean a private clinic is the only option for these people.
Do not get me wrong, I understand money in the NHS is extremely tight. There are a limited amount of funds to spend on an increasing and increasingly unhealthy population, something has to give. However, having had to pay for treatment in a private clinic, having to sell a house to afford treatment and having to wonder if I would ever be a mother I wonder if the cuts to IVF are the right thing to choose. Unless you have been through infertility it is hard to imagine and you may say "you can just adopt or foster" but that is because you have not had to deal with this longing, this doubt, this pain and this jealousy. It can cause people to become anxious, depressed and very unwell. It is not a recognised illness as such but it can have similar side effects to many serious illnesses and is not something that should just be swept under the carpet.
In addition to these cuts and even scarier is the possibility that the new personhood bill Donald Trump is trying to make law could effectively ban IVF in America. My understanding on the issue is certainly not in depth so I include the following information from the RESOLVE fertility association in America for a fantastic explanation... "By equating microscopic embryos with born human beings, H.R. 586 has implications that pose a serious threat to infertility treatment. If microscopic fertilized eggs/embryos are deemed as human life, anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a violation of law, even if its goal is the undeniable social good of helping someone have a baby.
It is unclear at this time precisely which assisted reproduction technology (ART) procedures would be deemed illegal because of their possible risks to an embryo, but we believe the legal uncertainties stemming from the proposed bill would make it difficult or impossible for fertility doctors to treat patients at all using ART. This law would also drastically change the practice of cryopreservation (freezing of embryos not currently needed for treatment), in ways that would drastically reduce patients' options and could even pit embryos against their own progenitors. Cancer patients rely upon embryo cryopreservation to preserve their fertility before cancer treatments." (link below - RESOLVE)
I think we can all agree these consequences will be far reaching and are a very scary prospect indeed, particularly for the millions of Americans who require fertility treatment to have a baby. We can only hope this does not come to fruition but I would be extremely worried if I was waiting to have treatment in America right now.
I urge anyone in America to argue this at the following link https://secure2.convio.net/res/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=656
I know how hard it is to want a baby more than anything in the world and deal with the pain and uncertainty of ever being lucky enough to become a mum. I know there are millions of other people around the world who feel the same. I know it rips your heart out but at least there has always been some kind of hope... hope that treatment would be funded, hope that you would come into money, hope that you would be able to save enough, hope you would only need one cycle... we all need this hope so much and my fear is this will get taken away completely. I will watch with great interest what happens in both countries over the next few months and I will keep hope alive for all of the wonderful couples out there who need treatment.
I would love to hear your comments...