(NaturalNews) The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidelines for the NHS widening the scope of IVF treatment to women over 40 years old and same sex couples. The move means that the expensive treatment will be available to those who can not afford the 8000 GBP cost per cycle. But whilst it has been welcomed by gay rights campaigners and women's groups, concern has been raised that whilst the UK is under such severe austerity measures, it is an unnecessary burden on the already stretched NHS.
The new guidelines were said to reflect "social changes" and call on local health authorities to fund intra-uterine insemination (IUI), using donor sperm for same sex couples. If they fail to conceive after 6 cycles of IUI then they would be eligible for IVF, which is much more costly. The move comes after the 2008 Human Embryology and Fertilization Act, which abolished the requirement to consider the need of a child to have a mother and a father in cases of fertility treatment. Same sex parents only needed to provide "supportive parenting." This led to a boom in the private sector for same sex couples who wished to have children, but was still not available via the NHS.
Women who wish to conceive up to the age of 42 will also be helped under the new guidelines, an increase from 38. A typical cycle of IVF can cost 8000 GBP, however the success rate is low, at only 20 percent, and private patients can spend tens of thousands of pounds in an attempt to become pregnant. The guidelines however state that there will be only one cycle of IVF available for patients over the age of 38.
An expensive treatment, should it take priority over treating disease and illness?
Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE said, "I believe it's right for the NHS to provide these services when the cause is medical and it's clearly possible for us to do something and it could be effective. The focus of the guidelines has been to encourage the NHS to do more. The NHS has made a commitment to support people having difficulties conceiving. It's important we know what the right thing is to do."
Gay rights group "Stonewall" welcomed the news, saying the new guidelines are "explicit acknowledgements of the issues same-sex couples face." Also that it addresses "outright discrimination." Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, described the same-sex move as "absurd." She said: "We are not prepared to accept what constitutes fertility from a biological perspective. Fertility treatment is very important but in this case what we are trying to do is rewrite biology."
Whilst most people want children, it is surely down to the individual to choose the lifestyle choices to give them the best possible chance to conceive? Is it right for individuals to demand that society give them something that their life choices prevent? Is it correct to divert the hard earned funds that should be used for emergency care and chronic illness, to cater for the wishes of the few, simply because they shout and stir up controversy? Whilst we should sympathize with those who have the emotional need for children, and help with those in medical need, should we not also consider the financial costs of what is deemed to be right?
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About the author: D Holt has written over 200 articles in the field of alternative health and is currently involved in research in the UK into the mechanisms involved in healing due to meditation, hypnosis and spiritual healers and techniques. Previous work has included investigations into effects of meditation on addiction, the effects of sulfites on the digestive system and the use of tartrazine and other additives in the restaurant industry. new blog is now available at http://tinyurl.com/sacredmeditation or follow on twitter @sacredmeditate