If you haven’t already, do listen to this interview with the outgoing Chair of the HFEA Professor Lisa Jardine which was broadcast on BBC Woman’s Hour yesterday. It’s a great shame that Professor Jardine is standing down as Chair of the regulatory body as she has had a positive impact during her term and has been a visible figure for patients. Here she makes the point that we really don’t address what happens when IVF doesn’t work.
I was apprehensive when I heard Woman’s Hour were covering the topic, as sometimes this debate slides into a them and us battle which paints a picture of exploitative fertility clinics, of a treatment that rarely succeeds and of ill-informed women, when in fact the picture is far more complex. Professor Jardine says she is “enough of a feminist” to believe that women who want fertility treatment at an age when it is less likely to work should be able to make that choice for themselves, but suggests that we need a more open debate about the fact that not everyone is going to come out at the end of treatment with the baby that they long for.
It is true that there is still so much stigma and anxiety around fertility that it makes having an open and honest discussion difficult at times. I’m not sure how we change that – but there is a growing ground swell that is pointing in the right direction.