Comment: IVF decision a brave step in the right direction

Lynn Clugston and IVF baby Ellis. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Lynn Clugston and IVF baby Ellis. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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THE decision to make IVF treatment more readily available across Scotland will feel like a lifeline to many prospective parents.

The struggle to start a family is a sad fact of modern life for thousands of couples with one in seven now seeking medical help to conceive.

It can be hard for those who have children or have no yearning for a family of their own to fully understand, but infertility can have a huge impact on the lives of those it affects. Depression and the breakdown of relationships are not uncommon.

At a time when our spiralling demands are putting a huge strain on the NHS, it is a generous and significant step that the Scottish Government has taken to make feritility treatment more widely available. It is also feels like the right thing to do.

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For anyone who wants to start a family, it is impossible to put a price on the joy of having a child. It seems crass to judge such things in terms of value for money.

Nevertheless, the limited resources of the NHS have to be handled judiciously. So, it is worth noting that the expected cost of £2.5 million a year is small in the context of the country’s annual £13 billion health budget, yet is likely to have a massive impact on thousands of lives.

This is not a golden bullet. The three treatment cycles now available will not be enough for some, like Lynn Clugston, whose long-wanted daughter Ellis was born last year only after seven attempts.

Neither will there be help for the growing number of couples who suffer what is known as “secondary infertility”, struggling to have a second child, often after starting their family later in life.

The decision to put Scotland at the forefront when it comes to IVF treatment will, however, offer life-changing hope to thousands of couples. It is a brave step in the right direction.