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AIBU to ask what the new definition for infertility means?

(62 Posts)
RestlessTraveller Thu 20-Oct-16 11:28:59

So I'm listening to radio 5 and they are talking about how infertility has been redefined so that single men can now be treated for infertility i.e. helped to have a baby. I think this is great news but I'm not sure how. Will there be an army of surrogates or will he need to have one to start with?

DanielCraigsUnderpants Thu 20-Oct-16 12:01:34

That sounds a really interesting discussion. I have no idea but I'd be interesting in hearing the debate.

DanielCraigsUnderpants Thu 20-Oct-16 12:02:03

ignore the typos. Being interested also makes my English suffer

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Oct-16 12:05:16

Will it be NHS funded? hmm

ToastDemon Thu 20-Oct-16 12:14:45

I think it's ridiculous. Infertility is a medical condition, which is entirely separate from someone's ability to pull.

WonkyRhino Thu 20-Oct-16 12:45:50

which is entirely separate from someone's ability to pull.

Maybe that woman has high standards.

I think it's great. For instance, it means women who have suddenly lost a life long partner but still want children can do so without having to meet another partner.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 12:54:10

It means if you're a couple with an actual medical issue you're going to have to wait a shitload longer to get it treated, funding for it is probably going to be limited even further and what does happen is going to be clogged up by people who can effectively queue jump over people with medical problems because they don't have to go through years of intrusive tests to get treatment.

The NHS is there to treat medical, not social problems. And this is going to have a huge knock on effect on people with medical problems. It's really unfair.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 12:55:42

I think it's great. For instance, it means women who have suddenly lost a life long partner but still want children can do so without having to meet another partner.

She's free to do that. She can pay just in excess of £1k for donor insemination. But she doesn't have a medical problem. So she shouldn't be entitled to medical treatment.

BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Oct-16 13:05:52

"single men can now be treated for infertility" - does that mean single men who just haven't got a partner, or single men who have a low sperm count though?

AndNowItsSeven Thu 20-Oct-16 13:08:30

It means that in order for everyone to be treated equally, nobody will have Nhs funded fertility treatment within the next few years.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 13:14:12

Balloon, single men who don't have a partner. No need for a medical issue - this guidance says that just not having a partner is now a fertility issue.

And yes, the most likely outcome is that nobody will now get fertility treatment on the NHS and couples (and gay women and single women for that matter) with genuine medical issues will no longer be able to have children unless they are wealthy.

BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Oct-16 13:32:56

Thanks Bill

But how can the NHS make that happen for a man with no partner? Can the NHS actually source a surrogate mother for him? The laws are that you can't pay for surrogacy, only expenses, isn't that right?

Sounds to me like they are trying to introduce equality (as they should in all areas of course) but in this particular situation nothing is going to change because the NHS cannot provide wombs.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 13:50:16

The NHS won't source surrogates, they don't currently for couples with problems that require one such as women born without a womb.

So they would have to source one. Either a willing friend or relative or through an agency. Payment is a grey area as allowed expenses can cover things like buying a car to cover travel to hospital which is really just a bit of a cover for actually paying them.

I think that the problem will mainly be caused by single women TBH. There is already a shortage of sperm donors and so couples where male factor fertility is a problem often struggle to get treatment for that reason.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 14:05:10

If every single woman who wants a child becomes entitled to IVF on demand at the same level as couples with medical problems then the likelihood is that the NHS will just close it's doors to everyone as it's too expensive to fund.

But ironically most of these women will still be able to have children by either finding a partner, having a one night stand or buying sperm off the internet. But couples with medical problems won't have that option and probably won't be able to afford the whole battery of tests and treatment which won't be funded. So they will lose out it the name of 'equality'. It's not actually equal at all when you think about it, because single women without fertility problems are given a huge head start in the fertility stakes, it makes people with medical issues much less equal.

Even in the best case scenario of longer waiting lists it will make people with medical problems wait much longer. For example, it took 16 months just for me to establish I wasn't ovulating via blood tests but it would take a healthy woman 2-4 weeks. As a positive is a positive but a negative needs to be retested and tested at different times to confirm. Plus couples have to try for 1-2 years which single women won't. But they don't take that into account with the waiting lists so you end up behind people who may only have started seeking treatment 2 weeks ago. At the moment this is a bit irritating people 'jumping the queue' normally have unexplained fertility and have also tried for 1-2 years and are not in great numbers so it's not a huge issue. But if this happened you would end up with couples who'd been through 4-5 years trying and tests being shoved to the back of the queue for treatment behind women who'd only decided that they wanted treating a couple of months before.

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Oct-16 14:45:31

A single man who wants a child will have his lack of partner treated as a fertility issue to be rectified by the fucking NHS??
Have I understood correctly or have I (please God!) missed something vital? shock
And this while some cancer patients are being denied treatment which is considered to be too costly... The world has truly gone mad

Butteredpars1ps Thu 20-Oct-16 15:03:15

I'm interested in this, having had previous involvement with NHS funding of IVF. At that time most policies required couples to have clinical infertility, confirmed for example, by a 2 year history of TTC, blood tests and other investigations.

The NHS is funded to investigate and treat illness and injury. Being single is not the same as being clinically infertile.

I can only hope this won't make it harder for couples who do have clinical infertility to get NHS treatment.

WhisperingLoudly Thu 20-Oct-16 15:07:23

I'll bet my last quid this is to enable "individuals who identify as men" to have access to treatment, rather than anything to do with infertile "cis" men

Butteredpars1ps Thu 20-Oct-16 16:09:58

Whispering, I have a feeling you may be right. But I'm still struggling to understand. I was involved in a panel that had to make a decision about a single female.

The lady was heterosexual, but recently separated from her partner and wanted to proceed alone. Our legal advice Was that if we turned her down because of her lack of (male) partner this would discriminate against women in lesbian relationships. However, she still didn't meet criteria for NHS funding because her problem wasn't clinical and we rejected her application. (I believe she later had private IVF).

Why, when the NHS is at breaking point should funding be made available for non-clinical infertility?

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 16:17:23

Women in lesbian relationships still have to 'prove' infertility though don't they? Six unsuccessful attempts at insemination before treatment. Although I believe in reality most don't actually go through with this as clinics don't check.

ladyballs Thu 20-Oct-16 16:27:01

So where are they going to gestate the baby - in a box?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 20-Oct-16 16:30:31

A single man who wants a child will have his lack of partner treated as a fertility issue to be rectified by the fucking NHS?? Have I understood correctly or have I (please God!) missed something vital? I am also in the shock camp.

I'm very uncomfortable with aspects of surrogacy anyway without the NHS funding it.

ladyballs Thu 20-Oct-16 16:33:50

Ditto MrsTP.

BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Oct-16 16:44:34

I expect it will turn out to be very theoretical "help" that is offered to this hypothetical single man.

Eg - GPs instructed not to sneer and say "you just need to get yourself a girlfriend mate," to offer advice on how to find a surrogate, to talk through the options, maybe offer to get his sperm tested on the NHS so that he knows if he finds someone to help him have a baby he knows he can actually father it.

They just won't be referring him to a fertility clinic taking up a space that could have been had by a couple with clinical fertility issues. They just won't. Because it's not the same issue.

BillSykesDog Thu 20-Oct-16 16:59:42

The vast majority of single men it is hypothetical, because if they can afford surrogacy expenses they likely wouldn't need much NHS help with the cost of the actual insemination anyway.

It's single women who are going to cause the problems and they are also covered by this.

BlueKarou Thu 20-Oct-16 17:07:19

Is there any information anywhere on this for those of us who missed the radio program?

I'd be surprised if anyone - trans, cis, gender-fluid, gay, straight, bi, furry, whatever - were to become eligible for free/NHS-paid fertility treatments of any sort without there being any medical issues causing infertility.

I say this as a single woman who paid for donor sperm, and had heavily subsidised IVF (subsidised because I donated eggs, not because I was entitled to any discounted treatment.) and at no point in my treatment was there any mention of NHS funding. Rightfully so; mine was a lifestyle/circumstance issue and not a medical issue. I only became the NHS's responsibility once I was pregnant.

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