Many couples are finding themselves priced out of the IVF market due to the high cost of treatment
That is according to Professor Geeta Nargund, director of abc IVF, a low-cost fertility clinic, helping people to afford treatment in the UK.
She said: “IVF is an essential treatment that has helped thousands of women and couples realise their dreams of starting a family. It has huge potential to improve the equality and diversity of our society – but unfortunately, the current NHS IVF postcode lottery and the high price of IVF in some cases can mean that women or couples find themselves unable to afford treatment.”
Since its first development, IVF treatment has fulfilled many women and couples’ dreams of having a child – in fact, the latest figures from the HFEA have revealed that almost 69,000 IVF cycles took place in 2019, a figure that has continued to increase each year.
But despite the steady rise in cycles, the NHS IVF postcode lottery and high costs of private treatment mean that many women and couples find themselves unable to access NHS-funded IVF and are being priced out of private treatment.
Two women have celebrated a magical first Christmas with their babies all thanks to affordable IVF treatment
Both Sarah and Charisse discovered they needed IVF treatment because they had one or both fallopian tubes blocked – Sarah was diagnosed with cervical cancer and Charisse had polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Charisse, who had already successfully conceived her first child with NHS-funded IVF, explained that when planning for their second baby they had based their budget on a local clinic’s website. “Once we had just about that amount in our savings, I contacted them to book in for a consultation; we were told that the price on the website was just the price in a certain area and that ours would be nearly double.”
Charisse and her husband decided to look into affordable IVF treatment and went on to successfully have her second baby, a boy, with abc IVF.
She said: “Life with him here is amazing, just having him out and about is wonderful. He adds another dimension to our family.”
Sarah had a child from a previous relationship, but after finding out she needed IVF treatment to conceive another baby, felt that the “treatment at the hospital we were referred to was very expensive; we felt like we were at a standstill once again.”
Faced with expensive treatment elsewhere, Sarah and her husband researched affordable IVF options and came across abc IVF.
She said: “While the price of treatment was the main deciding factor for us, we also really liked that the clinic used fewer drugs during treatment and that my health would be a priority – so we decided to book an appointment and give it a go.”
Sarah then went on to become pregnant with her youngest daughter, giving birth earlier this year. “My pregnancy was quite smooth overall; the birth was a bit of a struggle as she was a very big baby but it was all absolutely worth it. She is the most amazing baby, we’re all just obsessed with her.”
With many couples requiring fertility treatment to start or complete a family, improving the accessibility and affordability of IVF treatment could have a significant impact on thousands of women and couples.
Professor Nargund believes Sarah and Charisse’s experiences highlight that successful IVF treatment does not need to come at a high cost – and more must now be done to ensure all women can access treatment to conceive.
She said: “Infertility is classified as a disease by the World Health Organisation, and IVF is an essential medical treatment for many to have a baby. Many same-sex couples and single women need IVF in order to create a family, but unfortunately, they can find themselves priced out of the treatments they need. We must do more to improve the affordability and accessibility of IVF treatment for all women and couples if we are to achieve reproductive equality in the UK.”
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