Fertility Network responds to HFEA’s Covid report: The HFEA is the UK’s independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research. In 2018, they launched the UK’s first ever national fertility patient survey, which gave the opportunity to anyone who had recently gone through fertility treatment in the UK in the last five years, and their partner, to share their experiences and help inform our policy and identify areas for improvement.
Responding to HFEA’s Covid report: Gwenda Burns, chief executive of the UK’s national fertility charity, Fertility Network UK, said: ‘This snapshot in time of how the UK’s fertility clinics responded to the Covid pandemic reveals how NHS-funded fertility patients fared worse during the crisis. Although it is positive to see how private clinics moved to reopen quickly after the initial halt of all fertility treatment, this happened far more slowly at NHS sites and it has taken far longer for NHS treatment levels to return to normal. In addition, fertility patients are now facing further delays triggered by very long waiting lists for NHS treatments and diagnostics, prior to accessing fertility treatment.
Fertility Network’s survey at the end of last year highlighted the extreme distress this caused, with one respondent commenting: ‘It is hard to put into words the trauma of having my treatment delayed. The stress and anxiety suffered was indescribable’. On the impact of delays, one patient said: ‘It is a real possibility we won’t be able to have children now’, while another noted: ‘Our first appointment with our clinic was in September 2019. We still haven’t started treatment yet’. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (58%) experienced delays in accessing treatment, and over half (55%) experienced delays or problems in accessing tests or surgical procedures before fertility treatment.
1.Fertility Network UK provides practical and emotional support, authoritative information and advice for anyone experiencing fertility issues. The charity works to raise the profile and understanding of fertility issues and to push for timely and equitable provision of fertility treatment throughout the UK.
2. Fertility Network UK provides a free and impartial Support Line 0121 323 5025 10am to 4pm and an Information Line 01424 732 361 open every day 9am to 5pm.
3. Fertility Network UK supports people. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now at https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/donate/