Women call for further IVF treatment

Published Tuesday, 20 March 2012
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Women in Northern Ireland say they are being discriminated against because they are only entitled to one cycle of IVF, unlike other parts of the UK.

Women call for further IVF treatment
Sharon Seymour had one baby with the help of IVF. (© UTV)

Sharon Seymour suffered 14 miscarriages and fought to receive IVF treatment and after two cycles she gave birth to her daughter, Aya Mary who is now two.

The 33-year-old also has a six-week-old baby daughter, conceived with the help of fertility drugs.

She believes IVF should be more widely available to women in the region.

"The first IVF failed, so in my eyes every couple should have more than one cycle because the first round isn't always the best round. Your body's not used to it," she told UTV.

"It's a medical condition, in my eyes."

Everybody that wants to be a parent has the right to be a parent and have a family. No ministers should stand in their way.

Sharon Seymour

Women in Northern Ireland are currently only entitled to one cycle of IVF which costs the NHS around £3,500.

Elsewhere in the UK, women can have up to three rounds of the treatment, and Stormont's Health Committee says couples struggling to become pregnant in NI are being discriminated against.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommend that three rounds should be provided and only one in five couples conceive in the first cycle.

A review of those guidelines is expected to be published in July this year, but at Stormont the Health Committee is already calling for Minister Poots to reconsider the provisions in NI.

"Whilst this is less than up to the recommended three cycles, our access criteria offer more women the chance to avail of treatment," said the minister.

Additional funding would be needed to pay for further rounds of IVF and without the extra cash, the criteria would be tightened.

Minister Poots said that action "could severely limit the number of women who could access the service".

When the first round of IVF fails, many women opt to be treated privately for further cycles which cost around £4,000.

"I know a lot of girls that have spent £20,000 to £30,000 on treatment," Sharon told UTV.

She believes no price tag can be put on the opportunity to become a mother.

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Michelle in UK wrote (902 days ago):
I Live in the UK and due to my postcode i can only have one cycle on the NHS as well. I find it extremely unfair. People who can have children naturally do not understand the pain that people like us go through. I find myself crying at night wondering if i will ever be a mum. People need to understand the strain that infertility can put on simple things such as working with people with children, relationships and health. Good luck in getting pregnant i hope it works out for you.
janet in Northern Ireland wrote (952 days ago):
Couldn't agree more! No Government should have the right to say that one IVF go is enough, when they know full well that the statistics recommend three attempts. People who have no trouble conceiving have no idea how mentally distressing it is for those who have trouble. If they are so worried about costs to the NHS, have they considered what it costs to treat depression, which is almost guaranteed if people are left childless. Everyone should have the right to become a parent if they so wish. After suffering two miscarriages and been diagnosed as high risk, it is a much safer option for me and my partner to go through the IVF process. After four long years of treatments, diagnoses and a lot of filling in forms, we are to start our first (NHS) attempt within the next couple of weeks, lets hope and pray it works for us! Its very unfair that by paying the same national insurace rate as those from other parts of the UK, that they should get the recommended three attempts and we only get one chance.
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