In the headlines today according to Skynews “Obese Women Should Not Get IVF”! I personally cannot help but get angry. With those new recommendations I would not be eligible for IVF. Hang on what am I going on about? I never was eligible thanks to the Post Code Lottery!
What makes me angry? Well I am an IVF receiver and am overweight bordering on obese. My weight gain is partially due to my Thyroid problem and my Polycystic Ovaries. To give you an idea, I started gaining weight at 18 when I used to dance a minimum of 2 hours daily and had a very active lifestyle. My PCO was diagnosed but my doctor did not think of mentioning the implications of them or even bother telling me (though they were in my notes). I could not understand why I kept gaining weight despite my dieting, dancing and active lifestyle. When I confronted my doctor, I was told to “go on a diet”! Needless to say I felt it was my fault I was growing fat. Anyway, my infertility boiled down to being FAT, having a thyroid disorder, having PCOS and as a result not ovulating. Thankfully when I went for IVF treatment I was treated a bit more dignified. I was given some medication and given some diet tips specific to PCOS suffers. With this help, I lowered my BMI to 30. This must have helped my conceiving as I managed to conceive and it was my 4th Cycle. My previous 3 cycles were at another hospital and I had not lost weight.
What I am saying is that it is not fair to disqualify women from IVF treatment because they are obese, especially as there may be a medical explanation causing the obesity. All other illnesses / diseases are treated, and obesity should be treated as such and helped. Disqualifying people from medical treatment because they are fat is not only not acceptable but a form of discrimination.
I feel even more strongly about this because in the same breath, they go on to say that they will offer IVF to single women and lesbians. Excuse me, but if you do not have sex with MEN you will not conceive. This is NOT a medical condition but a lifestyle choice. You make your bed, you lie in it. After all, one of the requirements before I could be refered to for Infertility treatment was that we had been trying to conceive for a year. Should this not be sauce for the goose as for the ganders? If a women is single (not cohabiting) or sleeping with other women, can they fulfill this requirement?
And to top it off… you cannot have treatment if you are FAT but you can if you chose to kill yourself and any future offspring slowly by smoking. I thought the point of IVF was to create life not destroy it.
Who on earth comes up with this criteria?
Important Personal Note :- Despite my needing IVF based on medical conditions, I was not entitled to any help for NHS treatment. I had to pay for everything privately at an NHS hospital. With 4 treatments, it was pretty painful financially but we never qualified for NHS treatments. What makes me wonder is why we pay NI contributions? It feels to me that the NHS are trying to come up with more excuses to not fund medical treatment.