“Infertility does affect you deeply; it is like a primal calling to have children. I would have really struggled if I had not been able to have a baby,” says Laura Foley, from Fulbourn, devoted mum to IVF baby Alfie.
She feels a deep sense of sadness that others may not have the chance that she was given. Plans are being discussed to remove all funding for Cambridge NHS IVF patients.
Laura, who works with disabled adults, understands how difficult the funding landscape has become and says that she and husband Michael feel “really blessed” that their treatment was funded. “Who knows? If we had left it another year we might not have been able to have NHS-funded treatment.”
Laura and her husband had treatment at Bourn Hall, the world’s first IVF clinic established almost 40 years ago, which provides treatment to NHS and self-funded patients.
You can read their story here.
Excellent success rates
Dr Mike Macnamee CEO of Bourn Hall says success rates have continually improved. When Cambridge implemented the NICE recommendations of 3 cycles of treatment 8 out 10 couples became pregnant and had a baby (see diagram).
Dr Macnamee comments: “Infertility is a medical condition, that causes severe mental distress and it deserves better diagnosis at an earlier stage. “Recent cuts in funding have signalled that this area of medicine is not a priority and as a result the causes of infertility are also not being properly investigated. The risk is that even couples who might conceive naturally will miss out on having a baby as they are not being given relevant advice or medication.”
“We have proposed a more integrated approach that would involve GPs and fertility specialists working more closely together would streamline the system, create better outcomes and be more cost-effective for the CCGs.”
Multiple births increase the chances of complications and premature babies. The policy of single embryo transfer for NHS funded patients has resulted in a reduction in the number of multiple births from 25% to 6% in the last three years.
Dr Macnamee warns: “Withdrawal of funding will encourage people to go abroad for treatment where clinics are not closely regulated and a few returning with multiple pregnancy will wipe out any saving from cutting IVF funding.”
Cambridge NHS IVF funding at risk (note this blog was written in 2017 there is now no funding for IVF treatment in Cambridge, home of IVF, but the petition has nearly reached 4,000)
90 percent of CCGs fund one or more cycle of IVF – if Cambridge cuts all funding it will be one of only 5 CCGs across England to do so.
For more information about the Cambridge consultation click here.
For more information about ways to fund your treatment click here.
A petition organised by local people has gathered over 1700 signatures: sign it here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-ivf-treatment-on-the-nhs-in-cambridgeshire-and-peterborough.
To read the Foleys story click here