IVF and mental health

In a recent survey conducted by Fertility Network UK, 40% of patients undergoing fertility treatment admitted to experiencing suicidal feelings, with the majority feeling that they would benefit from counselling.

Sadly, this support is not readily available and reportedly only half of those in need have access. Often, the only option is to go private, but with sessions estimated to be between £10-£70 per session, that is not always feasible for everyone. As a result, some couples are forced to give up on their IVF journey as they are unable to cope with the emotional toll it takes and cannot afford the private support.

According to Dr Catherine Hill, Chief Executive of Fertility Network UK, infertility affects one in seven couples and the impact on mental health is far-reaching, affecting a person’s relationships, finances and careers.

With such a high proportion of people affected and the resulting impact touching on all areas of a person’s life, it is surprising that UK fertility clinics are only required to provide one free session of counselling as a means of support. This is nowhere near enough for what is often a gruelling and drawn out process, but unfortunately the funding for more is not in place.

Amber Izzo, having experienced first-hand the struggle of fertility treatment, has been campaigning to improve access to NHS-funded fertility services. Her first victory was the reinstatement of funding for IVF treatment in her local area, which was previously unavailable despite being accessible in areas nearby. She said she will continue to campaign to ensure others get the support they need.

The charity surveyed 1,300 fertility patients and found 40% had experienced suicidal feelings, with 10% struggling with suicidal thoughts often or all the time.

BBC News


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