Midlothian mum hails plans to extend IVF access

Lynn Clugston with daughter Ellis. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Lynn Clugston with daughter Ellis. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A MUM who went through seven cycles of IVF before giving birth to her daughter has hailed plans to extend access to fertility treatment.

Lynn Clugston, of Bonnyrigg, spent nearly £40,000 on six unsuccessful rounds of private fertility treatment before a policy change allowed her to access IVF on the NHS.

It is a gruelling thing and it put lots of pressure on me and my husband. Physically I was fine but mentally it does take its toll. Having better access to treatment is a great thing for everyone.

Lynn Clugston

Doctors had discovered there was an abnormality with her husband Marc’s sperm in 2010 but NHS Lothian’s waiting lists for IVF stretched to more than 18 months so the couple tried two private rounds at the Spire Shawfair Park Hospital before self-funding four NHS rounds.

Their 15-month-old daughter Ellis was born last year in their first IVF bout on the NHS.

Lynn, 40, said: “I was so determined, that unless the doctors told me there was no chance then I wasn’t giving up.

“It is a gruelling thing and it put lots of pressure on me and my husband. Physically I was fine but mentally it does take its toll.

“Having better access to treatment is a great thing for everyone.”

Health chiefs have vowed to increase the number of NHS-funded IVF cycles from two to three as part of plans to widen access to fertility treatment for couples struggling to conceive.

Scotland will be the only UK nation to offer more than two cycles of IVF, as well as extending access for the first time to couples who have children from a previous relationship.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell announced the changes during a visit to the Edinburgh Fertility Reproductive Endocrine Centre at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary yesterday.

She said: “We want to make sure that access to treatment on the NHS is as fair as it possibly can be – giving more people the opportunity to conceive naturally.

“Over the last four years we have invested around £18 million to reduce IVF waiting times and improve the outcomes for patients undergoing this treatment.

“Scotland already leads the way on IVF access and rights in UK, and these changes will ensure Scotland’s provision is as fair and generous as possible.”

The move which is expected to cost an additional £2.5m per year, has been welcomed by campaigners.

Professor Adam Balen, chair of the British Fertility Society said: “Infertility affects one in seven couples, and treatment should be available on the NHS. Infertility can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, causing distress, depression, and the breakdown of relationships.

“IVF treatment is cost-effective and enables childless couples the chance to have much-wanted families.”

It is understood the changes to allow the treatment for couples who have a child living in their home could come in from September while the Scottish Government will have talks with health boards about the possibility of allowing three cycles of IVF from April 2017.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com