Single women and IVF

It’s one thing for commissioners to decide they don’t have enough money for IVF and that they will ration who can access it, but it is quite another when they use dubious evidence to justify their decisions. In South East London, single women have been unable to access IVF for years thanks to a policy which claims they can’t have the treatment due to “the known disadvantage that providing assisted conception to a single woman would cause both the child and the mother”. This “known disadvantage” was outlined in a document produced in 2011 which stated that single women were “unable to bring out the best outcomes for the child”. The area covered by this policy includes the clinical commissioning groups in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.

The truth is that there is no such “known disadvantage” to offering IVF to single women. Let’s be clear, women seeking IVF by themselves have thought long and hard about their decision. They will not be choosing IVF on a whim but will have spent time working out how they would cope financially and making sure that they have support mechanisms in place. Their children will be much longed-for as well as carefully planned for. I don’t know quite where the “evidence” in this report came from, but it is simply not correct to make such sweeping claims across the board and to suggest they apply to women having fertility treatment when there is clear evidence to the contrary – see this article in The Guardian from Genevieve Roberts.

According to The Times, the 2011 document also says denying IVF “has a limited impact on a woman’s life satisfaction”. It makes you wonder quite how this document was put together, and how many women have been denied treatment due to the flawed research which looks to have been more about finding a reason for rationing than exploring realities.

It is only thanks to Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook that this has been highlighted and according to the HSJ, the South East London commissioners are now conducting a “rapid review”. It will be too late for the women who have been unable to access treatment in recent years, but let’s hope the rapid review leads to a rapid change of policy and a glimmer of light for those seeking IVF in the future.

Meeting tonight – meet Fertility Network UK Chief Exec

If you’re in South East London, tonight at 7pm at the Fertility Network UK office which is at 20 Egerton Drive Greenwich SE10 8JS, you can come along and meet Aileen Feeney, the Chief Exec of Fertility Network UK, who is going to talk briefly about what the charity does and the support it can offer. The office is near to Greenwich station and DLR. Hope to see you there! x

New fertility group for South East London

I’m going to be running a new fertility group for Fertility Network in Greenwich in South East London which you are welcome to join! We are having our first meeting on the evening of Tuesday March 27. It will be great to see you if you are able to come along!

I first went to a group when I was going through IVF myself and found it hugely helpful to meet other people who understood how we felt. I was a bit uncertain about going along – I didn’t think I was the sort of person who went to group meetings – but in fact it wasn’t gloomy or depressing or any of the other things I’d expected. If anything, it was actually quite uplifting to be in a room full of people who weren’t going to stat asking questions about when we were going to have a baby and why we were leaving it so late…

I’ve run a number of different fertility groups over the years since then and have seen at first hand the benefits they can bring. So why not come along and join us and find out for yourselves…

You can join our brand new Facebook page to find out more or you can get in touch via the contact page here – and hope to see you on the 27th.