In the UK, 3.5 million people – or 1 in 6 couples – are affected by the devastation and pain that fertility issues wreak. Yet most local health authorities deny couples the medically recommended fertility treatment.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 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%.
Today, the UK charity Fertility Network, in collaboration with London-based creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, is launching a campaign to combat this.
#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 aims to collect 100,000 signatures in an online petition so that the issue of 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.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, access to NHS fertility treatment is determined by where a couple lives, or by their social circumstances – eg, whether one of the couple has a child from a previous relationship. 98% 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.
Aileen Feeney, Fertility Network’s Chief Executive said, “The scale of damage infertility wreaks is vast. 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.”
Anya Sizer, Fertility Network’s Regional Organiser London said, “In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, couples struggling with fertility problems face an unethical and unfair postcode lottery to get access to IVF. 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.”