Thursday, 16 April 2009

Time to stop this IVF rationing

Eight years ago I wrote an investigative feature for a women's magazine on the NHS IVF postcode lottery.
I spoke to couples around the country who had been given only one cycle of free IVF because of where they lived - or in some instances, nothing at all. I discovered that once you embark on IVF, you inevitably need more than one cycle. Some of the couples I spoke to had sold their home to pay for private treatment, or their marriage had broken down under the strain.
The agony of infertility is that every year wasted can decrease the chances of successful conception. And by the time many of those couples had been forced to accept that IVF was not going to work for them, it was too late to adopt - because their local authorities considered them to be 'too old' (it should be noted that they were usually only in their mid-40s).
Sadly today, five years after ministers pledged to eradicate the IVF postcode lottery, it has been revealed that not only does it still exist, but that some couples can wait up to three years for their first turn - further decreasing their chances of success.
It's time for a cycle of change.

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