One of the things that we have found the hardest since Ross and I started trying for a baby is the lack of support we have had, or are entitled to. I have had to insist that our GP refers us back to the fertility consultant at our local hospital as we have discovered that I have not had all the tests they could have performed. We found out fairly early on that we were unable to get any funding due to my age and the fact that I already have Grace. What they have not looked at, as far as we are concerned, is the discrimination against Ross in all of this.
He doesn’t have a biological child – he was married in his 20s for 7 years but never felt it was the right move to have children. Given that the marriage ended and his ex-wife has since moved back to America, having had children would have led to a major headache for both parties. Ross still finds himself standing on the starting line as far as being a biological parent – and given how wonderful he is with Grace, that’s a great shame. We feel that he has been forgotten in the system – he’s under 40 and the results of the recent treatment we had showed that he is more than capable of holding up his end of the bargain when it comes to creating a child. Everything is there for them to take him into consideration – but they don’t.
Ross recently wrote a letter to the Infertility Network to put his case across regarding fertility funding. They were very supportive in their response (printed under Ross’ letter) but it doesn’t change the fact that we both feel that this is wrong.
Here is what he sent:
I’d like to know what financial aid is available for me to become a biological father.
My fiancee and I have been attempting to have children for three years now but have found her age to be a limiting factor (she is 44). She has a child from a previous relationship, Grace, who is now 9. I’ve been in her life since she was 4 and we make a lovely family. This has shown me how much I want to be a biological father – and how much I can bring to the table in that regard.
We looked at a number of options for treatment and decided to undergo egg donation in Cyprus. Our first cycle of this has failed and we are left with no baby and a lot less money.
I’m a healthy, non-smoking 37 year old, genetically capable as shown by the seminology reports, have paid tax and NI religiously since I started working in 1999 and have not once made any claim or received any benefits. Without wishing to take this message in a political direction, I see a lot of people who have done a lot less for the country and claimed against ‘the system’ more than enough. People being able to take out of the proverbial pot before they’ve put much in doesn’t seem right to me, especially when those who have put in plenty and not taken anything back don’t seem to get help when they need it.
Looking at it also from a different angle, before I came onto the scene, the Government was paying benefits for my fiancee and her daughter because the biological father was certainly not taking his financial responsibility seriously (he kicked mother and daughter out of their house and kept it for himself). When I came on the scene, they became my dependents and I paid for them rather than the Government. After five years of financially supporting another man’s child, as well as raising her, shouldn’t I be given the opportunity to become a biological parent myself?
So going back to my original question, I’d like to know what financial aid is available for me to become a biological father?
If the response is, as I fear simply “they don’t do that”, I’d like to ask why a childless man who has been proven to be reliable and suitable should not be given the opportunity to become a biological father when women who perhaps do not fit the bill as an ideal parent quite as well are extended financial support in this? Because if it simply comes down to “they are younger females”, surely that is discriminating over both my age and my gender!
If anybody else in the county is being given financial aid to become a biological parent, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t ask for – and receive – similar.
This is the response he received:
Thank you for your email, and whilst we whole heartedly agree with everything you say and the unfairness of the NHS funding situation that exists in the UK, we do not set nor are able to change the rules on accessing NHS funding, this is down to each individual CCG to set their own parameters. Part of the work we do is to lobby government on fair and equitable access across the UK for NHS funding, so we would urge you to get behind us in so doing as the more voices that can be heard, the greater impact it will have. If you would be interested in helping our campaign, please contact our press officer.
Getting back to your original question, I’m afraid with the current rules, any NHS funding that may be accessible is based on clinical effectiveness, which for women is up to the age of 40, and for both parties, no child/ren from a previous relationship. Both of which outlined in your email, would be the reason for refusal of funding any treatment you may require. Therefore, the only option open to you is to privately fund any treatment you may need, which again you outline in your email as already having tried that abroad.
For more information on the help and support we can provide, see our website: www.infertilitynetworkuk.com and also: www.fertilityfairness.co.uk
Infertility Network UK
What do you think? Is the system fair?