The screams of childbirth are loud. But the screams of frustration from not being able to have a child can be just as loud – yet they are not being heard
In the UK, 3.5 million people – or one in six couples – are affected by the devastation and pain that fertility issues wreak. Yet most local health authorities unfairly deny couples the medically recommended fertility treatment.
Today, the UK charity Fertility Network, in collaboration with London-based creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, is launching a campaign to right this wrong.
#Scream4IVF is a campaign for fair access to IVF in the UK. It asks the British public to donate their SCREAM on social media. The campaign will give a voice to couples with fertility problems so that their frustrations can be heard.
Fertility Network and IVFbabble aim to collect 100,000 signatures in an online petition so that the issue of unfair IVF access can be debated in the Houses of Parliament.
The screams will be collated to form THE WORLD’S LONGEST SCREAM FOR IVF, to be played at a rally outside Parliament on Wednesday, October 10.
“The scale of damage infertility wreaks is vast,” says Aileen Feeney, Fertility Network’s chief executive. “It can destroy relationships, lead to serious mental health problems, create social isolation, and cripple people financially. Facing a life without the children you long for means screaming in pain, despair, frustration, desperation, and rage. But these screams of infertility are not being heard. This suffering is in silence.”
In what way is current access to IVF unfair?
The charity has said that in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, access to NHS fertility treatment is determined by where a couple lives, or by their social circumstances – whether one of the couple has a child from a previous relationship. About 98 per cent of England’s NHS services and all of Wales and Northern Ireland unfairly ration IVF treatment.
By contrast, in Scotland, all eligible couples have access to the recommended fertility treatment of three full IVF cycles, including access for couples in which one person has a child from a previous relationship.
“In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, couples struggling with fertility problems face an unethical and unfair postcode lottery to get access to IVF,” says Anya Sizer, Fertility Network’s Regional Organiser London.
“Some couples are forced to spend their life savings or re-mortgage their house to fund private treatment. Those who can’t afford it but who still want to try for a family either have to move to an area that does enable access to NHS fertility treatment or have to travel abroad for treatment. It’s simply unfair – treatment for the disease of infertility should not be determined by your postcode.”
Why is the recommended treatment important?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the UK’s chief health advisory body, recommends three full cycles of IVF as the treatment for infertility. This recommended treatment increases the chances of a successful pregnancy by up to 53 per cent.
The consequences of infertility include serious mental health problems, with associated long-term financial costs to the NHS.
“England was the pioneer in developing IVF,” Aileen says. “However, that achievement means far less if only those who can afford to pay for private fertility treatment benefit from this life-changing technology. The scale of disinvestment in NHS fertility services is at its worst since NICE introduced national fertility guidelines in 2004. The Government should be ashamed that, after 40 years of IVF, it is your postcode and your pay packet, and not your medical need, that are the key determinants of whether you will be able to try IVF. We urge them to take action now to change this.”
Sam Petyan, general manager of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, said: “This is a campaign close to our hearts – we just had to help. People with infertility are suffering in silence. I’m confident that decision-makers in Westminster will empathise with their plight once they see how strongly people feel about this.”
IVF babble has launched the petition alongside Fertility Network UK and is supporting this hugely important campaign and want as many of our followers and readers as possible to get involved.
What can you do to help? Click here to find out.