Thank you to everyone who signed our Scream4IVF petition – we have reached 100,000 signatures

Fresh hope for childless couples as Fertility Network’s #Scream4IVF petition passes 100,000 signatures mark for a Parliamentary debate

A massive thank you from Fertility Network to everyone who took part in the #Scream4IVF campaign and added their signature to the petition calling for fair access to NHS fertility treatment and an end to the IVF postcode lottery. We have succeeded in gathering 100,000 signatures to our online petition and we couldn’t have done this without you – thank you for sharing your screams for IVF, signing the petition, attending the rally outside Westminster and sharing your stories about how being denied medical help for infertility affects you. Petitions which reach 100,000 signatures prove the public demand for a debate in Parliament.

Fertility Network launched the #Scream4IVF campaign, with partners Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, less than three months ago on 6 September 2018, and the petition was undertaken jointly with IVF babble.

Commenting on #Scream4IVF’s success, Fertility Network’s chief executive Aileen Feeney said: ‘Gathering 100,000 signatures, in such a short space of time, demonstrates the overwhelming public support to end the unethical and unfair IVF postcode lottery and create an equitable system for access to NHS fertility services in the UK.’

‘These 100,000 signatures represent the screams of pain and frustration from not being able to have a child without medical help – and not having your screams heard. The screams of childbirth are loud, but the screams of infertility are just as loud and today they are finally being heard.’

‘In the face of this overwhelming public pressure, Fertility Network calls urgently on the Government to debate in Westminster the issue of fair access to NHS fertility treatment. Look out for us presenting this petition in Downing Street in the coming weeks. We are stronger together.’

Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak) said: ‘I am thrilled so many people are joining our campaign to end the postcode lottery of access to IVF. Infertility is a medical condition and it is time we started treating it like one. It is simply unfair that access to IVF is down to where you live and not your medical need. In the New Year my Access to Fertility Services Ten Minute Rule bill is due to have its Second Reading in Parliament. This is the first small step to ending this disgraceful postcode lottery.’

Tracey Bambrough and Sara Marshall-Page, co-founders of IVF babble, said they are delighted and humbled that so many helped smash the 100,000 signatures needed. Tracey Bambrough, co-founder of IVF babble said: “This is such an epic achievement and we are absolutely overwhelmed in what the two organisations and their followers have achieved. We have worked together as a community to fight what is a total injustice when it comes to the most natural process known to humanity – having a family. We thank each and everyone of you for your unyielding support.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said: ‘People struggling with infertility can all too often face damaging mental health issues. It is wrong that there is so little support. 100,000 backing this campaign shows the strength of feeling behind the call for change. Liberal Democrats are listening and Ministers in Whitehall must listen too.’

National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends three cycles of IVF for women under 40 years and one cycle for some women aged 40-42. However, this guidance is not mandatory

Scotland offers the gold standard of fertility treatment: three full IVF cycles for women under 40, including access for couples with children from previous relationships. In England, just 3 CCGs out of 195 (1.5 per cent) offer this gold standard of three full IVF cycles for women under 40, including access for couples with children from previous relationships. All these CCGs are in the Greater Manchester area: Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG, Tameside and Glossop CCG and Oldham CCG – where the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. However, two of these CCGs – Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG and Oldham CCG – are consulting on cutting the number of IVF cycles they offer from 3 to just 1.

In Wales, women under 40 are entitled to two cycles, including access for couples with children from previous relationships.

In Northern Ireland women under 40 are offered one partial cycle, including access for couples with children from previous relationships. Campaign group Fertility Fairness’ updated 2018 audit of England’s 195 CCGs shows a marked reduction in access to NHS-funded IVF, with potential further cuts ahead. The vast majority of England’s CCGs – 86.7 per cent – do not follow national guidance and do not offer 3 NHS-funded IVF cycles.

  • Seven CCGs have decommissioned NHS IVF or suspended and provide 0 cycles (3.6 per cent). All are in the south.
  • 6 per cent offer just 1 NHS IVF cycle;
  • 5 per cent provide 2 NHS IVF cycles and
  • just 13.3 per cent follow national guidance and offer 3 NHS-funded IVF cycles.

Since Oct 16, 38 CCGs (19.5%) have slashed services (either cut the number of cycles they offer or introduced stricter access criteria) and 12 CCGs (6.2%) are looking at cutting or removing NHS fertility treatment.

  • In addition, Fertility Fairness’ 2018 audit of England’s 195 CCGs reveals how the CCGs are rationing access to NHS fertility services in other ways by setting their own access criteria in contravention of NICE guidelines, including male body mass index (BMI) and age:
  • 27 per cent of CCGs use a man’s BMI to determine whether a couple can be referred for NHS IVF.
  • Fourteen CCGs (8 per cent) stipulate men must be aged below 55 in order to have NHS fertility treatment.
  • A quarter of CCGs insist a woman’s anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) level and/or antral follicle count (AFC) is at a specific level, and
  • 91 per cent do not allow couples to access NHS IVF if one of the couple has a child from a previous relationship (social rationing).
  • 52% of CCGs do not offer an IVF cycle to 40-42 year olds 15% of CCGs unfairly ration access based on a woman’s age (in contravention of NICE guidelines) – these rationing tactics include stipulating a woman has to be younger than 35, or younger than 38, or between 30-40, or older than 23, or older than 25.
  • 12 CCGs (6.2%) have an under 35 rule for women