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New NHS guidelines on IVF treatment to extend age limit up to 42 - what do you think?

(584 Posts)
JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Feb-13 10:26:09

Good morning,

New IVF guidelines issued by the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) say that women aged up to 42 should be allowed one cycle of IVF treatment so long as it is their first attempt. Previously Nice recommended treatment up to the age of 39.

The guidelines also suggest that all couples who are struggling to conceive should get fertility treatment more quickly ? after two years of trying to conceive naturally, rather than three.

We'd love to hear what you think.


curryeater Mon 25-Feb-13 14:35:43

evil,giraffe I haven't made any assumptions about you (if you meant me?) and if it looks as if I have, it's because I phrased something badly.

Firstly, I don't think we need to get all either / or about anything. As it stands, some people who don't have children, and would like to, would benefit from IVF; some people who don't have children, and would like to, would benefit from a higher minimum wage or better mental health care. I don't think we need to pick one group at the expense of another - certainly not in theory, in principle, chatting all this through on a messageboard.

However: as Ariel points out in this very thread, more and more (in general, not just about the NHS) we are hearing lots of invidious stuff that is opposed to sharing; opposed to supporting other members of society; highly individualist rhetoric that carries with it a moral tone that strongly suggests that people who need help, almost by definition, don't deserve it. I HATE this sort of crap.

And I feel as if there is a different sort of version of it apparent when people are very very keen to point out that their need for IVF is a bone fide medical issue just like having a broken leg through no fault of one's own and certainly not self-inflicted like obesity related diabetes or smoking related disease. It feels like this is buying into, and supporting, the deserving v undeserving dichotomy which I oppose as absolutely wrong and unconstructive.

and it individualises a lot of issues which would be more constructively addressed on a societal level, because individualising everything is just a way of weakening us and making us more easily fucked over.

curryeater Mon 25-Feb-13 14:36:23

Sorry evilgiraffe, I don't know why I put a random comma in your name.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 25-Feb-13 14:51:19

I get your point there, curryeater. It's the poor and undeserving poor again isn't it?

evilgiraffe Mon 25-Feb-13 14:52:10

Ah, that makes more sense, curryeater, thank you smile I agree with your point, too!

I suspect on this thread there is a bit more of the "I deserve IVF because of X" than there would be otherwise (and quite probably from people who'd agree with your point), because people get rather defensive when their choices are being flamed by others. I'm not saying you're one of the flamers, by the way, just that there have been a few negative and inflammatory posts which provoke people into trying to justify their personal reasons for having IVF.

The piousness of the attitude that suggests that self-inflicted conditions are less worthy of treatment is appalling. It's judginess of the highest order - sports-related broken bones are fine because they're so much more wholesome than smokers who get lung cancer. Deserving vs undeserving indeed, and god help you if your life isn't up to scratch.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 25-Feb-13 14:54:45

Your head seems pretty clear to me evil smile

evilgiraffe Mon 25-Feb-13 14:58:35

Heh, you don't know how many times I reworded each sentence, rie! grin

Xenia Mon 25-Feb-13 15:45:04

The fact it is a societal not an individual issue is what makes it fascinating. If society does not need or want more babies it's rather shooting itself in the foot to spend precious money on saving lives on curing anyone's infertility. IVF in many areas has been available to married couples where neither has had a child. So if you are Mrs second wife and your husband has already had a child then you don't get one presumably on fairness grounds. If you are over 42 under the new rules you don't get IVF etc etc. - presumably on theg rounds that is it not likely to succeed so a waste of state money just as you won't get a new liver if you are a die hard alcoholic in a very bad way and you may not get gastric band surgery until you are fat enough but also until you show you can lose a bit of weight yourself.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 25-Feb-13 16:12:43

And your point is?

This is not merely a "fascinating" abstract debate to many posters here, is a deeply personal one. I wouldn't have thought I needed to point that out but apparently I do.

LineRunner Mon 25-Feb-13 16:36:53

I wouldn't waste breath on it, Ariel.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 25-Feb-13 16:44:19

I know. I can't seem to stop. I think I need to go cold turkey. I am aghast that someone could have so little understanding and empathy and downright decency. Fair enough if someone has Asperger's or somiwething, but if they are insistent on joining in discussions like this then they ought to just mention "Sorry if I am having trouble relating conventionally to this: I'm on the spectrum," and then people wouldn't be so upset downright pissed off by their apparently deliberately offensive statements.

Phineyj Mon 25-Feb-13 17:07:34

curryeater I think your points are interesting and nuanced, however, whatever the social barriers that may exist to having children, surely (in the absence of the NHS transforming itself into some other kind of service) they're not very relevant to this discussion -- NICE guidelines are for physical or mental health issues, hence why we are discussing the rationing of IVF and not whether everyone in work getting a living wage (or whatever) would improve people's wellbeing. Which it clearly would!

Also, for every person who concludes they can't afford to have children there is probably another who takes a more do it first, worry about consequences later approach. And aren't about a third to a half of all pregnancies unplanned anyway?

The poster above (sorry have forgotten name) who said these issues should be dealt with privately, perhaps does not take into account the role a National Health Service could take in giving neutral, unbiased advice to people experiencing infertility about what their options are. This would be a cheap intervention and save a lot of misery! As I've said earlier in this thread, infertility advice & counselling is woefully lacking in primary care which is why I believe many people go straight to IVF when there might have been other options for them.

As to the 'IVF creates a new human life so therefore is different to other types of medical treatment', well, yes, but IME people undertaking infertility treatment have likely thought much more about the ethical issues of reproduction, their reasons for having a child and their ability to support said child than people who become parents very easily or even unintentionally. I'm not saying either is better, but it would be good if we could celebrate the existence of this technology a little more and judge a little less.

JustplainoldBuggerlugs Tue 26-Feb-13 20:52:32

"Sorry if I am having trouble relating conventionally to this: I'm on the spectrum,"


ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 26-Feb-13 20:59:28

I was trying to be tactful. Last thing I want on this thread is to accused of laughing at those with Asperger's sad

DomesticCEO Tue 26-Feb-13 22:11:45

Ariel, I don't think Xenia is on the spectrum I think she's just a total bitch.

Xenia Wed 27-Feb-13 12:19:11

The state denies this treatment to people over 42. I don't. The state rations NHS provision. That is nothing to do with whether we feel sympathetic to the situation of others. However I have very valuable advice to peoplw with children, teenage daughters - make sure they know fertility plummets at 35, make sure they realise you can work fulltime with babies in your 20s, make sure they know that if they pick will paid work (or I suppose a rich husband) they can have babies when other women cannot as they will be able to fund their own IVF or use an Indian surrogate implanted with their eggs or those of another.

None of these facts have anything to do with sympathy. I adore babies. I formulated my plan to have a ton of them in my teens. Of course I understand that some women are very unhappy they do not have them.

I presume there is on on eon the thread who suggests the NHS should provide IVF to women over some ages or more attempts than a certain number?

I think IVF should be offered to all women too, they shouldn't lose the opportunity because their partner had a child in a previous relationship.
Also one cycle of IVF seems very little to offer. Three seems much more reasonable.

I'm confused by someone saying they are "on the spectrum" so "sorry if I'm having trouble relating to this conventionally" if that's not in the least true. Seems an odd thing to say to me, and not very respectful of others.

Ah, I see it was just a suggestion of Ariel's - you all confused me a bit.
Should have read the whole thread before posting but sometimes I just go for it
- Life is short !

Xenia Thu 28-Feb-13 20:31:01

It is a bit much to suggest someone must be autistic because they happen to support NHS policy of rationing fertility treatment. So those thinking like that must think that all those NHS policy makers must have mental health issues just because IVF is not available to women of 50 - 70 or because there are not 10 treatments paid for on the NHS?

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 28-Feb-13 20:37:23

Being on the spectrum doesn't equate to being rude or a bitch.

WTF. Is it be offensive day on MN today? The things I have read are shocking.

Xenia Thu 28-Feb-13 21:57:36

I am sure every older mother desperate for a baby and more free NHS IVF accepts how important it is that women can debate these issues objectively rather than wanting only groups of women to support unlimited IVF on the NHS at any age. It is a topic for debate not an arms round the shoulder, poor you because the Government does not give you 20 rounds of IVF free up to age 65.

DomesticCEO Thu 28-Feb-13 22:02:50

Xenia, I can't decide whether you are immensely stupid or immensely cruel - not sure which is worse.

No one, no one, no one is suggesting unlimited IVF on the NHS at any age. No one.

You have absolutely no understanding whatsover or what you're talking about. I truly hope none of your children ever have to experience IF as you will be the worst person it is possible to imagine to receive any sympathy from. Although it would probably be different if it was someone you loved wouldn't it.

I know, I don't accept how important it is to debate this issue with idiots like you actually because I hate to have a battle of wits with an unarmed woman.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 28-Feb-13 23:23:43

I always find it's best, when clearly out if my depth, to stop talking/typing.

Xenia Fri 01-Mar-13 07:35:16

If you don't explain the issue I cannot address it. We were talking about what should the limits be - age and number of rounds. What is wrong with that?

I also said ensure your teenage girls pick careers which enable them to buy their own IVF and suggest they start reading up on childbirth at 14 as I did and get started on babies whilst working full time at age 22. Make that a priority. It can work pretty well.

None of that means I have no sympathy for women and men who cannot have their own genetic child.

CabbageLeaves Fri 01-Mar-13 07:47:06

I see this as a clinical decision based on likelihood of success rather than a 'do they deserve it' situation

I sit in on meetings deciding whether £30k of treatment should be provided to a e.g. 70yr old. The factors influencing the decision is persons life expectancy, ability to survive the treatment and current health. Not... they are old

Having worked in the infertility service I'd support a framework of services which offered empathetic hope and realistic care. It causes such grief ...and I mean grief as in grieving. It also causes an life consuming obsession for some and here I think it would be best to counsel and say 'it's time to help you come to terms with this'.

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