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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Couples 'win' fertility treatment
Three couples have been chosen to undergo free fertility treatment following a campaign funded by a newspaper in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Post's campaign invited would-be parents to apply for a series of fertility packages with Midland Fertility Services (MFS) in Walsall.

It said it aimed to raise awareness of the need for more money to be spent on fertility treatment in the NHS.

The winners come from Worcester, Birmingham and Tipton.

'Postcode lottery'

The funding includes all treatment at MFS and the supply of all the necessary fertility drugs.

The three couples, who have not been named, have been trying for a family for a total of 15 years and their treatments will start within the next couple of weeks.

The newspaper said it had been overwhelmed by entries it had received.

Editor Fiona Alexander said: "The application form required a lot of information and so we were delighted and surprised - and concerned - to receive applications from 34 couples from Devon to Staffordshire and from Bedfordshire to Conwy.

"The campaign highlighted the postcode lottery of NHS funding."

Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of MFS, said the response to the campaign highlighted the need for more money to be invested in NHS fertility treatment.

She said: "The majority of the applicants would have a realistic chance of success from fertility treatment and only the lack of money or funding is stopping them getting pregnant.

"For many couples, life is on hold while they are trying to conceive. Each year they have to wait, the chance of success goes down."

Each couple completed an application form and sent a letter explaining how and why they would benefit from fertility treatment funding.

Further details of the successful applicants will remain confidential until they have completed their treatments.

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