A third of people struggling to conceive have put themselves in financial jeopardy in a bid to have a baby, new figures have revealed.
Anyone who has ever battled with infertility will appreciate you’ll like do anything for a longed-for child.
But a new survey has revealed that this could include forking out thousands of pounds on expensive private fertility treatment.
The survey conducted by 5 News/Fertility Network UK ahead of Fertility: Fighting For a Family, a 5 News Tonight Special, which airs tonight at 6.30pm on Channel 5, shines a light on how IVF is offered through the NHS and the postcode lottery in place across England.
The stats reveal that 34% of those who have had to go privately for IVF have put themselves in financial risk in doing so.
One such couple is Lewis and Hannah Vaughan Jones who have been trying for a baby for five years and spent tens of thousands of pounds after only being offered one round of IVF on the NHS. They have just finished their eighth fresh round of IVF.
“I’ve never met anyone who’s indifferent about their children,” Lewis told 5 News. “Most people would do anything for their children. We’re the same. We’re desperate to have a family – we can’t quite imagine our lives without one, so we just work really hard and put all our money into this and we make huge sacrifices outside of that because it’s the most important thing for us.”
As well as uncovering the financial burden many couples are taking on, the survey also discovered how infertility was impacting people emotionally with 90% of those surveyed admitting that infertility feels like a trauma.
94% say they don’t think their friends, family or colleagues really understand what they are going through in their journey to have a baby.
Meanwhile over half (55%) of those battling to become parents say their fertility struggle makes them feel hopeless and like a failure, while two thirds (68%) say they believe other people think less of them because they do not have a child.
Fertility issues are having an effect on relationships too, with 41% claiming their relationship has been affected in a negative way, while a third (34%) say it has had a positive impact on their relationship by bringing them closer together.
The reaction of others to infertility means that over half (54%) feeling annoyed by other people’s comments with 37% feeling angered by what others say.
Comments that are really upsetting those going through fertility struggles include “just relax and it will happen,” “don’t stress”, “you’re only young” or “just adopt.”
Commenting on the findings, Aileen Feeney, Chief Executive of Fertility Network UK said: “Infertility is a disease, as defined by the World Health Organisation. It is cruel, devastating and can affect anyone, regardless of the background, colour or creed.
“One in six couples in the UK are affected by infertility which equates to 3.5 million people. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines are evidence-based recommendations of both clinical and cost effectiveness of a treatment.
“If a CCG rations IVF treatment and does not adhere to these guidelines, they are not giving patients the best chance of having the outcome they desire, namely a healthy baby, or spending their money in the most efficient way. IVF treatment should not be rationed in an arbitrary way, and should be offered in line with medical need, not according to your postcode.”
The survey results come as it was revealed yesterday that couples are being denied access to IVF because of their age and BMI.
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