Three Couples Awarded Fertility Treatment Funding From Newspaper Campaign

Issue Date: 19 April 2005

Gillian Lockwood and Heidi Birch consider the FFTFA applications
Gillian Lockwood and Heidi Birch consider the FFTFA applications

Three couples from the Midlands have been awarded funding for fertility treatment by The Birmingham Post ‘Funded Fertility Treatment for All’ campaign.

One couple from Birmingham will receive a cycle of stimulated IUI and two couples from Worcester and Tipton will each undergo a full cycle of IVF or ICSI.

The funding includes all treatment at Midland Fertility Services (MFS) and the supply of all the necessary fertility drugs. The three couples have been trying for a family for a total of 15 years and their treatments will start within the next couple of weeks.

Each couple completed an application form and sent a letter explaining how and why they would benefit from fertility treatment funding. All the applications were considered by Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director at MFS, Heidi Birch, director of nursing services and Nigel Bickerton, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist from Glan Clywd District General Hospital in Rhyl.

Further details of the successful applicants will remain confidential until they have completed their treatments.

In March, the panel selected a shortlist of seven applicants for an initial consultation and blood and sperm tests and ultrasound scans at MFS. On 18 April, it reviewed the results of these tests and considered other usual criteria for fertility treatment before selecting the three successful applicants.

The campaign was launched in January in anticipation of the 1 April 2005 deadline for all PCTs to fund at least one cycle of IVF for every childless woman under 40 who needs fertility treatment, as recommended by the Secretary of State for Health.

Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director at MFS said: “The majority of the applicants would have a realistic chance of success from fertility treatment and only the lack of money or funding is stopping them getting pregnant.

“For many couples life is on hold while they are trying to conceive. At MFS we are aware of their despair and frustration while they are either saving for private treatment or waiting for funding – and each year they have to wait, the chance of success goes down.

“The three couples who have received funding from The Birmingham Post campaign now have a real chance of the child they have dreamed of.”

“The application form required a lot of information and so we were delighted and surprised – and concerned – to receive applications from 34 couples from Devon to Staffordshire and from Bedfordshire to Conwy,” said Fiona Alexander, editor of The Birmingham Post.

“The campaign highlighted the postcode lottery of NHS funding that the NICE guidelines sought to correct. But it is still unclear whether the recommendations will be implemented by every PCT and whether existing waiting lists will be cut.”

ends

MFS was established in 1987 and is licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to offer a range of fertility treatments and procedures including IVF, ICSI, egg donation, egg and embryo freezing and sperm recovery. In 2002 the UK’s first ‘frozen egg’ baby was born following treatment at MFS and in 2004 MFS treated its 11,000th patient and celebrated the birth of the 3,000th baby born after treatment at the clinic. Based in Aldridge and Wolverhampton, it treats both private and NHS patients.