IVF for prisoners?

What do you think about people in prisons having access to fertility treatment?  It seems that the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is determined to stop prisoners getting IVF in future. The European Court of Human Rights had ruled that stopping people who were in prison having IVF treatment was a breach of their right to a private and family life, but Grayling says he’s going to review UK policy with the intention of banning IVF for prison inmates.  Of course, the story caused a lot of excitement in the Daily Mail, but reading the story carefully it appears that only 13 prisoners have applied to have IVF since 2007 anyway with just one application being approved.

I can’t help feeling that stories like this often detract from the realities of the situation in the UK – whipping those who “don’t agree” with fertility treatment up into a fury of self-righteousness; you can already hear the arguments about money that ought to be spent on cancer drugs going to pay for criminals in prisons to have test tube babies, which is then used as a reason not to fund any IVF treatment for anyone at all anywhere in the UK…

I think it’s vital to keep reminding people that infertility is an illness not some kind of lifestyle choice – and that offering medical treatment for an illness is not a luxury that we can’t afford, but just part of a rounded national health system.