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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January 2005, 01:50 GMT
Going through IVF is tough enough
By Michelle Roberts
BBC News health reporter

Image of Kate Brian
Kate waited four years to have her first child
The checks that couples wanting IVF treatment have to undergo to ensure they are fit to be parents are being overhauled.

Kate Brian, a mother of two children conceived by IVF, shares her experience with BBC News website.

"We first started trying for a baby when I was 30.

"After no joy after about a year of trying we decided to seek help.

"I had always known that IVF was an option, but no one ever thinks they will have to go that far down the line themselves.

It's awful if people end up feeling that they are being tested at a time when you feel very emotionally frail anyway.
Kate Brian

"My GP was really quite sympathetic and gave me a choice of going to a local hospital or a specialist unit.

"It was a very long, drawn out process though. It felt like it went on forever."

She said it seemed unfair that some infertile couples had to go through such rigorous welfare checks when couples without fertility problems were free to become parents at any time without scrutiny.

"By the time that you get to that point, you have made the decision that it is what you want to do and you are giving up a lot financially and emotionally. It's a huge investment.

"I think it is probably quite obvious that 99.9% of people are completely committed to what they are doing and that they probably would be as good a parent as anyone else really.

Probing questions

"I was really unaware of any probing, odd questions. But you have got used to people asking you personal questions. You are constantly being asked how often you have intercourse and at what times of the day.

"I do remember feeling odd about being asked to have an HIV test. I remember thinking 'I do not even know if I want to be tested'.

"It seemed like such a huge thing to ask me to do. But, realistically, you need to know those things.

"But it can add to the general anxiety and humiliation of it all really.

"It's awful if people end up feeling that they are being tested at a time when you feel very emotionally frail anyway."

Samantha MacCuish, who had IVF to conceive her two children due to infertility caused by endometriosis, said: "I do think it is ludicrous that other parents do not have to go through these sets of questions.

"People with IVF have to go through so much. It's ridiculous."

Karen said the whole process can be very stressful.

"It's hugely intrusive into your life and very all-consuming.

"It's hard to concentrate on anything else and it needs a huge amount of commitment.

"When I started out I was employed full time and it was exceptionally difficult.

"It was hard to fit it in around my job and to take time off when you don't want people necessarily to know about it."

Kate said it can also put an incredible amount of strain on relationships, although in her case she said it brought her and her partner closer together.

"Although it is a horrible thing to have to go through and it is not going to be easy and there is no guarantee that it is going to work, it is worth it.

"The best thing people can do is find out as much about it as they can and join an organisation like Infertility Network UK because one of the worst things is the feeling of isolation.

"The more you can talk to other people who have been through the same thing the more helpful it is."

Shake-up of IVF 'welfare' checks
13 Jan 05 |  Business
31 Mar 99 |  Medical notes


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