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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.


SteIIaBeIIa Wed 20-Feb-13 13:59:59

This is another of these "entitlement" issues isn't it? Women feel they are "entitled" to be mothers. Well we're not. Some of us do and some of us don't.

It's not something that taxpayers should be contributing towards IMO - especially in these times when there is NO MONEY.

RedToothBrush Wed 20-Feb-13 14:03:03

This is another of these "entitlement" issues isn't it?

No. No, its not actually.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 20-Feb-13 14:04:35

Stella, do you have children?

gaelicsheep Wed 20-Feb-13 14:06:37

Are you a mother Stella. Not being rude, just that you'd be amazed how your viewpoint changes if you find yourself facing childlessness.

evilgiraffe Wed 20-Feb-13 14:12:13

Entitlement? No. Mental health issue? Absolutely. Perhaps if the money doesn't go to IVF it should go to infertility-related mental health services instead. Until you have lived it you cannot imagine how all-consuming infertility is. I have to look away from pregnant strangers, I have to grit my teeth to spend time with my friends with new families. I cry every time my period comes - and have done for years. Reading this thread is deeply upsetting, even the accounts of people in the same situation.

No, I don't feel entitled. But I do feel desperate.

SteIIaBeIIa Wed 20-Feb-13 14:14:58

Ariel - yes I do have a child.

gaelicsheep Wed 20-Feb-13 14:15:55

Then sorry Stella, you're not qualife

gaelicsheep Wed 20-Feb-13 14:17:57

Then sorry Stella, you're not qualifird to comment.

End of lunch now. Evilgiraffe - I am sending unMumsnetty (((hugs))) and I do hope things work out. xx

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 20-Feb-13 14:18:20

Then I have no wish to be rude, but I don't think your opinion is a valid one. How on earth do you know how "entitled" I and my other infertile friends feel?

The feelings are very complex, but entitled doesn't come into them.

RedToothBrush Wed 20-Feb-13 14:18:52

evilgiraffe, I'm glad you mentioned mental health.

I am mildly amused by the person upthread who said that mental health was a more important issue than fertility. Conveniently missing the link between mental health problems and infertility.

Why, did NICE recommend this? I haven't read it, but I'll put money on there being something about depression in the document and being a consideration that NICE made.

If someone does know if this is the case, I would be interested.

miemohrs Wed 20-Feb-13 14:19:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EuroShagmore Wed 20-Feb-13 14:20:43

I never felt entitled to IVF. I do however think that when one objectively considers all of the things the NHS funds (which goes far beyond the life saving cancer treatment that is always mentioned on these threads) fertiilty treatment should be funded. The reality is that because of the waiting that has been mentioned and the strict criteria, many people who need IVF will end up paying for it anyway. I'd love to know the % of IVF cycles in this country that are privately funded. I bet it is huge.

Northey Wed 20-Feb-13 14:22:39

stella, I'm not sure anyone is really "entitled" to anything, healthcare-wise. For example, if your child became sick, is she "entitled" to regain health, either naturally or through medical intervention? If she were deaf, would she be "entitled" to test and hearing aids? No-one has a God-given right to hear, yet as a society we chose to use some of our taxes helping people to do so. We as a society decide who is "entitled" to what, and that goes for your child's antibiotics as much as it does for my ivf.

curryeater Wed 20-Feb-13 14:26:28

redtoothbrush, it was me, and I totally acknowledge the link between infertility and mental health problems. which is why I said it. I think there is a very complex interface here between the mental, physical and the actually non-medical and I don't think this is being acknowledged.

btw it is stupid to say that someone with children can't have an opinion. Really? Do you think only the unwillingly childless people at NICE should be a part of making these decisions? Do you think that people who may or may not have children but don't really care can't be a part of it either?

You can't write policy based on feelings, certainly not the feelings of only some people. Which is what you are suggesting.

Lots of people aren't happy for lots of reasons. I want to write a book and it kills me that I will never ever have the time. I just can't earn a living and write. My heart bleeds. I have to look away from the facebook updates of my friends who are published. Every time I see another shit book marketed all over the place, knowing that mine would be better, I have to lock myself away and cry. Am I the only person who is allowed to make decisions about arts grants? If some author on a govt panel said, "frankly, curry, I do not think you are entitled to £12k for 6 months off to write your book" should I snap back, "Have YOU written a book? Yes? WELL YOU DON'T GET TO HAVE AN OPINION!"

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 20-Feb-13 14:26:37

Agree that anyone who managed to conceive without intervention is not qualified to comment on women "feeling entitled to have children".

Do you have any idea how utterly all consuming infertility is? How it haunts your every waking thought? How it is such a primal, guttural desire to have a child and know that the odds are stacked against you?

Do you know what it's like to feel like a piece of you dies every time you see a negative test/your period shows up?

Unless you have been through the pain of infertility you cannot understand what it is like, so kindly keep your opinions to yourself.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 20-Feb-13 14:28:04

Curry, are you honestly comparing the pain and heartache of infertility to not being able to write a book??!!! hmm

evilgiraffe Wed 20-Feb-13 14:33:30

Thank you, gaelicsheep smile

RedToothBrush - I think the mental health side of it is largely ignored. Granted, we've not started in on IVF yet, but I have had lots of tests done and been to the infertility clinic many times. The closest we ever got to acknowledgement of the toll on mental health was being allowed to hide in a nurses' room after being told we were infertile - I could barely stand unaided and sobbed on DH for a long time before getting it together enough to walk away. Of course, the infertility clinic is part of the maternity hospital, which meant walking past innumerable pregnant ladies and small children. I am in tears now just thinking about how painful that was, and that happened last May. Any help would have been gratefully received, rather than "go home, keep trying, come back when you've been unsuccessful for three years".

It is quite a relief just to have been referred now, even though I have no idea what happens next and it's still a month until the initial appointment.

Northey Wed 20-Feb-13 14:34:17

curry, I think the "not qualified to comment" thing was more in relation to someone with children saying that people without children felt entitled. It's not that people with children don't have a valid opinion to offer, it's that that opinion isn't on the feelings and drivers of someone who is infertile - they simply won't know.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 20-Feb-13 14:36:11

Curry, it is not a biological imperative to write a book. I don't imagine you feel like a failure as a woman, because you haven't had one published.

I think the reason why stella's opinion was dismissed was because she was so dismissive of other people's opinion. Others have voiced similar opinions to hers and they didn't do it so brusquely in such brutal language. All opinions are welcomed in my opinion, as long as they are well thought out and give some thought to the audience, which is likely to contain a fair few women facing infertility.

It would be very nice if this very sensitive topic was discussed, well, sensitively, and not in your usual AIBU free for all manner.

LindaMcCartneySausage Wed 20-Feb-13 14:36:57

I have one DS conceived through IVF on cycle 4. Previous cycles resulted in 1 miscarriage, 1 failed cycle and 1 ectopic pregnancy, which had to be terminated with methotrexate. I'm also thrilled to be 38 weeks pregnant with DC2, a frozen embryo transfer, conceived and frozen after our first IVF cycle. In all, I've done 5 rounds of drug treatments.

I'm pleased that they are raising the IVF age limit, but feel it's a very hollow headline. NHS Trusts do not have to follow the guidelines, there is likely no money in the pot for this initiative and the postcode lottery will continue. Raising the age limit will not be as effective as speeding up the referral and testing process which is required prior to any IVF cycle and the waiting lists. Maternal age is the single biggest factor in IVF success. It takes months and months on the NHS waiting lists which many women in their late 30's do not have time for.

We were in Westminster PCT and were lucky to have 2 x NHS funded cycles, the others we funded ourself. We started TTC naturally when I was 31. In our case it was very clear cut - DH had very low sperm count and out chances of natural conception were virtually nil. I had clockwork cycles and no issues, but still had to go through over a year of NHS tests, which could have been completed (medically speaking) in 1 or 2 months to confirm that my reproductive faculties were perfectly ok. It then took 4 cycles to get DS - you can only do 2, maaaaaayyyybe, 3 at a pinch in a year. I'm now 37. It's a loooooong process.

evilgiraffe Wed 20-Feb-13 14:37:03

Curry, I believe RedToothBrush spoke to me, because I commented about mental health.

I am currently trying to write a book, as it happens. It is really fucking hard, but it doesn't even come close to the pain of being infertile. Comparing a career choice with a fundamental biological drive is laughable.

BasicallySFB Wed 20-Feb-13 14:37:41

Friends who've had IVF tell me that, even though it didn't (for all bar 2 of 5) work, their MH was improved because they'd been able to try, every option possible.

Fortunately, given the arbitrary rule applied to deny us IVF (as said up thread, my DH had 2 older children from a precious relationship), I have one of the leading gynae's in the country caring for me. He has done my last 6 major surgeries (I've had 8 in total). At number 6 i lost an ovary. After number 7, he was able to clear my endometriosis-blocked tube and most of the endo. Despite this never impacting on fertility for us before, this time it did - and we were blessed with my beautiful DS.

It costs a damned site more to treat my endo (surgery every 18 months, at least 2 nights in hospital, follow up drugs that are insanely expensive) than 1 round of IVF.

1 round of IVF and a pregnancy would have helped my endo enormously.

And my mental health.

But you're quite right - those of us who face the heartbreak of infertility should just man up and stop feeling so entitled...

HappyJoyful Wed 20-Feb-13 14:37:42

evilgiraffe, couldn't run without posting a word of support. Wish I could wave a magic wand and take away the pain. I had 5 cycles of IVF and now am very blessed to have a 2 yr old DD but the knowledge of those feelings of longing and yearning are never far from my mind and the pain that women going through this are never far from my thoughts.

I have huge issues (and anger/rage) with people using the word 'entitlement' when it comes to IVF. Sorry, but as others say, anyone implying that's how someone having IVF feels or that that is what it's about - their entitlement to treatment as absolutely no idea whatsoever.

evilgiraffe Wed 20-Feb-13 14:38:25

Speaking of AIBU, why is this post in Site Stuff? It's an odd place for it, surely? In The News might be better? <shrug>

FairyJen Wed 20-Feb-13 14:39:12

evilgiraffe would you consider adoption or a surrogate/ donor? Sorry if I've misread your personal circs

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