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to wonder whether it is unfair to be told that if I already have a child and am over 40 I should not get any IVF on the NHS

(441 Posts)
babybarrister Mon 20-Apr-09 17:39:55

I am not sure if it is unreasonable or not as I guess with a DC I am not a priority but I wondered what other people think?

Milliways Mon 20-Apr-09 17:41:58

I sympathise with ANYONE who wants another child and cannot for whatever reason, BUT the NHS is a limited resource and has to draw guidelines somewhere.

I would say anyone with no children gets priority, then yonger people too who have a better chance of success.


nametaken Mon 20-Apr-09 17:44:47

Regardless of age, if it were up to me I would prioritise a childless couple. And by childless, I mean that neither person should have a child from a previous relationship as well as their current one.

Sadly, when funds are limited non essential things like IVF have to be rationed somehow.

How would you like it to be rationed, just out of interest.

I've had IVF by the way. Got fed up waiting for NHS for 5 years and went private in the end. Can you go private?

moondog Mon 20-Apr-09 17:46:39

No.It's not unfair. Everything will soon have to be severely limited on the NHS and frnakly, IVF for older people with kids is last in the line.

Portofino Mon 20-Apr-09 17:47:10

I really feel for you sad but agree with Milliways. There are so many who are desperate for just ONE child, and they should get a fair chance.

expatinscotland Mon 20-Apr-09 17:48:48

YABU. You already have a child and many are absolutely desperate to have even that.

wannaBe Mon 20-Apr-09 17:48:49

personally I don't think anyone should get IVF on the nhs.

I think that the nhs is there to save lives, not create new ones.

I have one child and am unable to have another one btw, but even if I had no children I would never have considered that I should be entitled to free treatment.

And fwiw even treatment for childless couples is very much a postcode lottery, with not all authorities giving funding. Where I live there is no free treatment, ditto in berkshire where SIL lives and she has no children and is having to pay for her IVF.

Sorrento Mon 20-Apr-09 17:52:36

I do understand, really I do, but having sat in the waiting room of the infertility clinic knowing I have three children and looking into the faces of those who just want one, I know I don't mind paying.

nametaken Mon 20-Apr-09 17:54:07

Was your first child an IVF child babybarrister?

babybarrister Mon 20-Apr-09 17:55:15

as I said I am really interested in what people think - I do not think I have a right to be prioritised as I have a DC but I do think the age thing does suck. I agree that there will need to be rationing but just wondered what people think about what basis - I certainly don't think age should be one of them....!

babybarrister Mon 20-Apr-09 17:55:50

first child not IVF

Sorrento Mon 20-Apr-09 17:57:31

It's a case of sucess rates though isn't it ?

Why would they spend £6k on you at age 40 when there are 25 year olds with a much better chance of it actually working.
I was told at 33 my chances weren't brilliant hmm
Seriously if you're that desperate and a barrister £4-6k shouldn't be an issue should it ?

expatinscotland Mon 20-Apr-09 17:58:05

'I certainly don't think age should be one of them....! '

Why on Earth not? It's an extremely expensive form of treatment even in the best of circumstances, but it's a well-known fact that it's less successful as you get older.

I mean, they ration cancer drugs based on cost v. how long they prolong someone's life and you're quibbling about this when you already have a child?

mermaidspurse Mon 20-Apr-09 17:59:23

yep sorry, YABU. I'm 41 with 1 dc and 4 recurrent mc. I was asked if I wanted IVF and even though I want another dc so, so badly I could not take this away from someone with no children. we have to finally admit how bloody lucky we are to have one at all or adopt.

MorrisZapp Mon 20-Apr-09 17:59:32

How would you ration it, BB?

I suppose the age thing might seem unfair considering that you might not have met DH earlier, or might not have realised you had fertility issues until you started trying.

But isn't it limited on the basis of likely success, in which case the age thing - though totally sucky - is just how it is?

I'm 37 and childless so I'm interested in this. I'd like a family but if it doesn't happen I don't feel I'd want to wage war against nature. That is obviously v personal pov.

cazboldy Mon 20-Apr-09 18:00:43

I agree with wannabe

hester Mon 20-Apr-09 18:02:13

babybarrister, I do sympathise: I had my first (and only) child at the age of 41. I think the debate about assisted fertility on the NHS is an interesting one with no easy answers.

But there are two things at play here, as others have said. If rationing has to be had (as it probably does) I don't think it's unreasonable for childless women to take priority. Any of us would agree that is natural justice.

The age issue is something else. It is not rationing on the basis of who deserves treatment, or a child. It is recognising that IVF is, generally, really ineffective in women over 40. Certainly, it is a very poor solution to the problem of aged eggs, which is why most women over 40 are struggling to conceive. It is analogous to the debate over whether alcoholics should get liver transplants: even if you believe that the NHS should not make moral judgements, you can see the rationale for offering treatment first where it has the best chance of being effective.

But I do understand how you feel. As a lesbian facing fertility problems, the NHS wouldn't offer me treatment at all (this was 5 years ago). In fact, my local NHS hospital refused to even run tests when I was worried I was undergoing early menopause - I wasn't asking for fertility treatment, just tests that would have been appropriate whether or not I was trying to conceive - and they refused on the grounds of my sexual orientation. It can feel very, very lonely when you are trying to get pregnant. Best of luck to you.

nametaken Mon 20-Apr-09 18:04:30

babybarrister I'm really not trying to be argumentative here BUT tell us, would you be happy if 60 year old women were ahead of you in the IVF queue? What age do you think the cut off should be.

Gunnerbean Mon 20-Apr-09 18:11:27

I am sorry to sound harsh but I'm another one of those who doesn't agree with the NHS funding IVF treatment. Whilst it could be argued that everyone has a right to be a parent, the State should not be obliged to bear the costs of making sure that happens when nature doesn't take it course.

But if the NHS has to fund it, I think it should be confined to totally childless couples only where neither party has a child of their own. Treatment should also be limited to one cycle only per couple across the board in all areas of the country to ensure that resources are targeted to help the maximum number of people. If eggs/embryos have to be frozen as a result of the NHS funded cycle of IVF, couples should be given the chance to take them to other private fertility clinics if they want to continue with treatment privately and they should have to bear any costs associated with this.

I think that 45 should be the cut off point for treatment for women. If you're past 45 when you get to the top of the list then it's too late. I agree though that age should not be a factor to be taken into consideration when deciding who should be eligible for treatment up to the cut off age.

DandyLioness Mon 20-Apr-09 18:13:58

Message withdrawn

andiem Mon 20-Apr-09 18:14:21

I think if you have one child already then no you shouldn't receive treatment
but for people to say that ivf shouldn't be treated on the nhs is a step too far for me. Infertility is a disease and it causes terrible heartbreak and can lead to ongoing mental health issues
I couldn't conceive a second child so paid for ivf privately eventually going abroad for treatment
so yes yabu and priority should go to childless couples who have been shown to be suitable for treatment

andiem Mon 20-Apr-09 18:19:03

gunnerbean your nature argument is facile really do we let nature take it's course when people have cancer, heart disease etc etc infertilty is a disease not an affliction sent down from god
what about people who need ivf because they have had cancer as a child
also this idea that only one cycle should be offered well then realistically no treatment should be offered statistically it takes 3 cycles for the average couple to achieve a pregnancy hence the current guidance that 3 cycles are offered offering only one cycle would be a complete waste of money as the mmajority would not get pregnant on that cycle

expatinscotland Mon 20-Apr-09 18:22:24

the problem with that analogy, andie, is that cancer and heart disease result in death.

whilst infertility is indeed heart-breaking, it is not fatal.

additionally, people can develop a disease like cancer at any age.

nature puts an end to fertility for women. it's a finite period except if you rely on treatment.

so conditions like infertility and cancer can't be approached for treatment in the same way.

OrmIrian Mon 20-Apr-09 18:25:00

"it could be argued that everyone has a right to be a parent"

I don't think that that is the case. It isn't possible to have a right that can't be ensured. What if IVF fails? Does that mean that your rights have been violated? You can't have a right to be a parent anymore than you can have a right to be tall or short or not to have athsma.

Portofino Mon 20-Apr-09 18:27:04

It's getting harder these days though isn't it? When cancer drugs and treatments for chronic conditions and Alzheimers etc are dependant on a postcode lottery, it's debatable that money should be spent on IVF and other non-life threatening conditions eg certain plastic surgery/sex change operations.

It seems callous to lump these things together, though these are all issues that cause people misery/unhappiness, but they won't DIE from it IFYSWIM.

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