Sad to say, much of my time in college is spent sitting in a corner listening to what is happening hoping for some small manna of teaching, recently I was in an infertility clinic, and it was a pretty shameful excuse for a teaching exercise. However, as the hours passed I had time to muse a bit about the situations that were being retold in front of me.
1) Some aspects of the NICE guidelines are grossly unfair: Currently couples are eligible for one round of IVF on the NHS, this was intended to reduce the regional variation, however there are various criteria that need to be met for the NHS to pay.One of which is a couple is ineligible for treatment if the male has had a child in a previous relationship. This to me seems grossly unfair to the female partner. Considering that infertility is a rare occasion when you consult and test the couple as a couple, it’s sad that should the problem lie with the woman, she is denied a child of her own because of her partners past. Considering that separation is common in the UK, this will effect many couples and seems to ignore the fact that the man may have little to do with this previous child, let alone his new partner.
2) IVF is not as expensive as I though: Its not cheap, granted, but its about £4000 a cycle at Harley St. I understand that few people have a spare 4 grand, and that multiple rounds will be probably be required, but that still strikes me as a reasonable price when you consider cost of a car (especially new) and other costs of big events (say a wedding). Also, if you participate in egg sharing the price plummets to a few hundred quid, that makes IVF pretty affordable if you’re comfortable with the idea.
3) Some people are hopelessly naive about the cost of children: The clinic illustrated that I am terrible of judging BMI or the area I was in has serious weight issues and that I’ve become normalised to people being overweight and judge the obese as “ech, you’re not that fat”. The obesity epidemic is a pubic health problem as much as a personal one and requires interventions from all areas, and I know losing weight is hard. High BMI has effects on fertility (and exacerbates other problems) and increases complications in pregnancy for both the fetus and the mother, so losing weight is of great benefit. Its also a requirement for eligibility for IVF, and other treatments to help with conception, either to increase the likelihood of success or reduce complication risks. Yet, several of the women I saw were obese, and on being told of the need to lose weight gave costs and time constraints as a hindrance to losing weight. I know it costs to lose weight, but so does having children, even the target of being clinically overweight seemed an impossible task for these women, and didn’t appreciate the recommendation of gym membership, but I couldn’t help think that while weight loss regimes are costly in time and money, maybe the cost isn’t much greater than the costs of a child and is a really good idea.
Infertility is a problem that effects many couples, and it clearly effects both members deeply, and these were the things I was thinking about on the ride home. Generally I approve of NICE guidelines, but the denying IVF to new couples because of children from previous relationships seems terribly unfair and old fashioned, and people need to lose weight, and maybe councils should make their gym facilities affordable.