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to be cross with the 32% of the population who think ivf shouldn't be available on the NHS

(506 Posts)
tholeon Tue 03-Aug-10 19:17:34

I read an article in the paper this morning saying that only 68% of the population think that ivf should be available on the NHS.

I have an ivf DC. He is the best thing that has happened to me. Infertility was the worst. We are lucky in that we could pay for the treatment without bankrupting ourselves. Not lucky in the 'hurrah lets whip £10k out of our back pockets to pay for all these lovely invasive and unpleasent treatments that may not work, while other people just get to have a nice shag' sort of way - but still, relatively so. I know plently people on fertility forums who are unable to afford treatment at all.

Any of the 32% out there? I know money is tight, but infertility is a medical condition, and it causes great heartache and unhappiness in a way that might be hard to understand for those who have not been through it themselves or seen it at first hand. So why do so many people see it as such a low priority?

southeastastra Tue 03-Aug-10 19:22:25

i suppose because it's one of those things that wouldn't be seen by some as a necessity and the nhs is in such a state

deemented Tue 03-Aug-10 19:23:03


DT's were born with the help of fertility treatment.

I think it's because it's not seen as a medical necessity, not a life or death thing. I don't think people take into account the emotional toll infertility has on you.

katiestar Tue 03-Aug-10 19:23:28

It's a case of finite resources and infinite needs/wants.the NHS could easily swallow up every penny of tax revenue if every treatment that was scientically possible was given to every one who wanyed/needed it.Personally I think money is better spent on saving/improving the quality of life for people who are already here, than creating new lives.I appreciate it aint fair that some people can't have children but life aint fair is it, you just have to make the best of the hand you've been dealt

compo Tue 03-Aug-10 19:24:03

I think it's because it's so expensive

and when nhs trusts won't fund drugs for certain types of cancer

but it's such a controversial and emotive topic isn't it?

I think people get 3 goes on the nhs? so that's 30k right?

compo Tue 03-Aug-10 19:25:25

and it's not a human right to ahve children

and the failure rate is quite high right so that's 30k wasted sad

mumblechum Tue 03-Aug-10 19:26:01

I can see both sides,tbh, it must be devastating to be infertile, BUT, the NHS is so overstretched these days that certain other areas are bound to be prioritised, eg cancer care. I also wonder, if a couple haven't managed, on two incomes, to save a few grand for IVF,how able to manage financially they would be if they're succesful anyway. In an ideal world, of course everyone should get everything on the NHS but I think I'd rather see people who are already here get life saving treatment.

MumNWLondon Tue 03-Aug-10 19:26:57

I guess there are limited funds and others consider cancer treatment and other life saving treatments etc etc more important. Others choose not to have children so don't see having children as being important. Additionally there are some who have brought infertility upon themselves by either starting too late, by smoking or drinking or being overweight.

I am not one of the 32% BTW so don't flame me, I am just trying to think of the reasons why roughly a third of the population don't think this is essential.

BonniePrinceBilly Tue 03-Aug-10 19:27:18

Its expensive, it often doesn't work etc. Are you really surprised not everyone thinks its a good use of public resources when people die from lack of necessary treatment?

I'm not saying which side I'm on, if indeed I have a strong opinion, but its hardly a surprising statistic is it? In fact I'd be surprised that that many people thought it should be free on the NHS.

innocuousnamechange Tue 03-Aug-10 19:27:49

The NHS is severely underfunded as it is, and wether you like it or not, IVF is not a life saving procedure. No, nor was my tonsillectomy, but those buggers needed cutting out and you'd better believe I was made to get seriously ill before they would entertain doing the OP, and even then the wait was more than a year. IVF isn't a medical necessity. My own experience of the mental health facilities have shown them to be woeful and tbh I would rather the money get spent on that area of things. I recently found out that the eating disorders unit that serves our area, and it is a huge area, has twelve spaces for inpatient treatment. Can you imagine waiting for a bed for your seriously ill dc in those circumstances? The NHS has it's priorities skewed unfortunately

MadameCastafiore Tue 03-Aug-10 19:28:33

Life would be lovely if we could have everything we wanted paid for by someone else wouldn't it.

I work in the NHS and see how some money is wasted but how we also don't have half of what we need and I work in front line mental health which leaves me somedays wanting to stick my head in the oven and very often thinking that people shouldn't just be able to have kids regardless of whether it is by IVF or naturally.

So I agree with Katiestar.

CarGirl Tue 03-Aug-10 19:29:22

Some areas don't give you any ivf on the NHS it's a postcode lottery.

Some people need IVF due to NHS negligent treatment of other gynae problems.

The whole thing is a nightmare, I'm grateful that we have a NHS - 50 euros per gp visit like in Eire????

I wish the NHS could afford for IVF to those in need of it.

spybear Tue 03-Aug-10 19:29:30

If it was 10k to fix the problem and give these couples their fertility then that would be great, but its not its a gamble.

There are more worthwhile cases out there such as cancer drugs, or even wheelchairs for the disabled.

But then again, I read that the NHS are pating for people to have their hymen reinstated!!

Morloth Tue 03-Aug-10 19:30:01

There isn't any correct answer to this one.

I am 50/50, I think given that resources are finite they should be spent on people already here rather than making new people.

On the other hand, I have my babies and while I was originally told that wasn't possible and did deal with that, now that they are here, I wouldn't want to deny anyone that chance if it was possible.

Ewe Tue 03-Aug-10 19:30:24

I am personally undecided on whether IVF should be available on the NHS and how many attempts etc but I can tell you what the arguments of the 32% are.

Infertility is not life threatening and is unlikely to result in any physical harm.
Having children is not a right.
It's too expensive, considered a 'cosmetic' treatment.
Plenty of children who could be adopted.
We've had centuries of infertility, people have historically just had to get on with it.
Country/world overpopulated, don't need anymore children.
NHS is overburdened already.
Cost per treatment vs success rate is low.

These are some of the arguments I have heard when I have discussed it in the past.

ib Tue 03-Aug-10 19:32:32

I'm surprised that many people think it should be available, actually.

I wonder if they still would if they were told clearly what else could be done with those funds.

tyler80 Tue 03-Aug-10 19:36:53

I definitely think that it the right to IVF or not should be the same across the country.

Not so sure if any cycles should be free, I think it would be different if the success rate was much higher but money that goes into failed IVF attempts helps no one. I think that money could probably be better spent elsewhere.

I actually think 68% is quite high, I would have expected it to be lower.

MrsNozzle Tue 03-Aug-10 19:37:44

It's supposed to be 3 goes, but in many areas (including mine) it's actually only 1. To pay for treatment here would have been the best part of £5,000 rather than 10K.

I'm 25 weeks pregnant with an icsi baby - at 40, with a hubby with dodgy swimmers, it was my only chance. It certainly wasn't an easy process - and I've already had 1 m/c from the last treatment, but I feel incredibly lucky to be in the situation I'm in now. I'm sure that I'd be needing more than 5 grand in counselling, anti-dep medication etc if I had been unable to access fertility treatment and had remained child-free for the rest of my life.

What really grinds my gears is when people/Daily Heil/etc talk about the 'selfish women who put off having babies for the sake of their careers, knowing that IVF will be there for them'. Possibly this may be the case for a very few, but for most... pfft... I'm certainly no jet-setter. I was just unlucky in that I was with a useless bloke for years who wasn't ideal father material anyway, finally met my husband when I was 35, and then it took a further 5 years to go through the whole process of TTC, finding out we couldn't, getting on waiting list, etc to get to this point.

Surely this must be the same for increasing numbers of women? We're damned if we seek out fertility help, damned if we get pregnant with unsuitable yet fertile men who then leave us as single parents, too young if we're under 25, too old if we're over 35.... sorry, will stop ranting now!

I would be surprised if any of the 30 something percent of the dissenters have had fertility probs of their own anyway. Until you've been in that situation, you just don't know the depression and anguish it can cause.

thisisyesterday Tue 03-Aug-10 19:38:13

i think beacuse it's very expensive, the chances of it working are really low and it is NOT a necessity

now, obviously i say this as someone who hasn't had difficulty in conceiving. if i had needed ivf i wouldn't have been able to afford it, so yes, would have probably wanted it on the NHS. but I think knowing that it was a priviledge, not a right

I dunno... it's very emotive isn't it.
but you read stories of people trying to raise tens of thousands of pounds to get treatment abroad for cancer and other stuff the NHS won't pay for and that just isn't right.
people are being denied potentially life saving treatments. and the NHS is spending money helping people have a baby

Haliborange Tue 03-Aug-10 19:38:37

I know what it is like to wish and wish for a child and while I wish everyone who wanted to be a parent could (by whatever means) the reality is that resources in the NHS are massively squeezed. I think the NHS should provide the necessities for everyone and horrible though infertility is, I do not see free IVF as necessary.

I do not agree with the statement that "infertility is a medical condition" as though that justifies treating it when resources are so scarce. It hurts like hell I know, but it's not cancer. It won't kill you.

Vallhala Tue 03-Aug-10 19:40:36

I'm one of the 32%. Admittedly, I've never needed IVF.

Whilst I agree that infertility is a medical condition, so is cancer. I have had that.

Infertility doubtless DOES cause great heartache. So does cancer.

But cancer also kills.

So, until there is enough money in the NHS kitty for BOTH needs, priorities have to be made.

My priority is to keep alive the mothers and fathers of the children who already exist.

Sorry. In an ideal world I'd agree with you. Until it is, I can't.

wb Tue 03-Aug-10 19:41:26

Actually I think YABU - 68% is a pretty good percentage to have in agreement (on the basis that is rare for 100% of people to agree on anything).

I bet if you asked how many people agreed with treatment for many other conditions you'd get similar, or worse, results (depression - pull yourself together; morbid obesity - stop eating so much; schizophrenia - lock em up where they can bother 'normal' people, HIV -its your own fault etc etc)

Haliborange Tue 03-Aug-10 19:41:44

Sorry - that actually reads as though I am being really dismissive, but honestly I am not dismissing the pain that infertility causes (I've been there), it is just that I think there are other conditions that have a worse impact.

ilovemydogandMrObama Tue 03-Aug-10 19:41:50

Why is it so expensive? I honestly don't understand. Understand that there are lab costs, doctors and nurses etc, but I didn't think that they do IVF exclusively, so why the high cost? Seems to me with IVF the biggest cost (aside from the drugs) would be the storage and constant monitoring as they need to be a constant temperature, and need to ensure that the right eggs/sperm are matched up with the right people.

StrictlyTory Tue 03-Aug-10 19:42:57

I'm shocked it so low tbh. The NHS cannot afford cancer drugs! I have massive sympathy for those unable to conceieve but I have much much more sympathy with those dying, often in agony, from cancer that could have been beaten or at least helped with drugs that the NHS deemed too expensive.

MIL works in a hospice and sees people die in the most terrible, unbearable pain possible every day. That should be the priority.

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