Worlds apart: IVF, mental health and exploitation in England and Scotland

ivfheadline

In the Independent today:

A couple who had IVF treatment which was paid for by friends from a Facebook group have given birth to a girl. Marisha Chaplin, 26, and Jon Hibbs, 29, already have a daughter through IVF but were not able to afford a second round of treatment. Mothers from a Facebook group secretly managed to raise £2,000 for the couple despite the fact they have never actually met them. They then made the couple, who met while undergoing cancer treatment, a video to surprise them with the news. They played it to them via Facebook Live which made Ms Chaplin cry.’

It’s a touching story but one that should not be necessary in any modern society informed and concerned about the wider costs of infertility.

ivfgraph

In all parts of Scotland, there is 100% free IVF treatment, on at least three occasions. From ISD on 28th August 2018:

‘The four IVF centres in Scotland screened 373 eligible patients, compared with 370 in the previous quarter. 100% of patients were screened for IVF treatment within 273 days. The 90% target continues to be met since it was first measured in March 2015.’

https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/Publications/2018-08-28/2018-08-28-IVF-Summary.pdf?35583132506

This is an NHS Scotland target success ignored by BBC Scotland News despite their avowed commitment to keep the public informed when targets are missed.

Meanwhile in Tory-run NHS England, only 12% of boards offer three full cycles in line with official guidance. 61% offer only one cycle of treatment and 4% offer none at all. Private treatment costs between £1 343 and £5 788 per cycle.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/ivf-nhs-treatment-fertility-lists-wait-patients-lottery-budget-cuts-a8028116.html

Why is this so important?

  1. Reducing associated mental health complications

Also, failing to treat infertility can result in problems and further costs for the NHS in other areas. A Danish study of 98 737 women, between 1973 and 2003, showed that women who were unable to have children were 47% more likely to be hospitalised for schizophrenia and had a significantly higher risk of subsequent drug and alcohol abuse.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22020-infertility-may-increase-risk-of-mental-disorders/

  1. How IVF became a licence to print money.

As we tumble toward a hard Brexit and trade deals with the USA allowing the private sector into the heart of the NHS, we can see how things will work out in the already privatised IVF service in England and contrast it with the state-controlled and regulated version, in Scotland. See this from the Guardian:

‘Private fertility clinics routinely try to sell desperate patients add-ons that almost certainly don’t help – why isn’t more done to monitor the industry?  Around three-quarters of all IVF cycles fail. And results vary with age. Figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) published in March state the average live birth-rate for each fresh embryo transferred for women of all ages is 21%; for those aged under 35, it is 29% – the highest it has ever been. For older women, the picture is bleaker: 10% for women aged 40-42, for example. IVF is expensive. And what makes it worse, says Hugh Risebrow, the report’s author, is the lack of pricing transparency. “The headline prices quoted may be, say, £3,500, but you end up with a bill of £7,000,” he says. “This is because there are things not included that you need – and then things that are offered but are not evidence-based.”’

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/18/how-ivf-became-a-licence-to-print-money

  1. Creating opportunities for the private sector

In Tory-run NHS England, only 12% of boards offer three full cycles in line with official guidance. 61% offer only one cycle of treatment and 4% offer none at all. Private treatment costs between £1 343 and £5 788 per cycle.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/ivf-nhs-treatment-fertility-lists-wait-patients-lottery-budget-cuts-a8028116.html

  1. Why UK politicians would like more privatisation in the NHS

There are 64 Tory and Labour (New) MPs with ‘links’ to private health care. Why would we trust them to protect the NHS? See this:

https://defendournhsyork.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/selling-off-nhs-for-profit-full-list-of-mps-with-links-to-private-healthcare-firms/

 

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