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A selection of e-mails will be published on this page after the programme on Sunday, 6 July. Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive. We may also edit some e-mails for purposes of clarity and length. The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC.
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I watched the programme with interest and I wish to congratulate the producer. I hope that people will come forward and tell their story. However, in a real world and in this age of "law suits" most people will choose to be quiet. HFEA and GMC should do more to protect patients and if a patient lodges a complaint and perhaps doesn't have the "proof", those organisations should listen. Patients do not have where to turn. I hope that BBC bravery will help people in trusting someone and will encourage them to come forward.
I would just like to say i think it is about time someone did a positive programme on IVF. Yes there are some dodgy dealings and yes they should be hightlighted but that is all that seems to be made public these days. I tried for a baby for 18 years and had practically given up hope till I had IVF. I actually had my baby after 21 years of marriage. IVF helps so many people. Positive stories should be made to give people hope.
It is true that the 'Baby Business' ought to be regulated, as indeed it is. However, one sided predominently pessimistic programmes as yours on the 7th July 2003 neither enlightens nor promotes this. I agree that it may seem like business to some but to so many others it means 'a future' no matter how hard or draining it is.
I wish you had approached couples who have benfitied from egg share. My husband and I desperately want a family, one ICSI, poor eggs and so egg share is our option. Like so many others we sit, we pray and we wait for an "Angel couple" to donate. I did have reservations as to whether we were exploiting potential donors, but look at it this way, we are helping each other. My friend and confident could not afford IVF but needed treatment, through well controlled and supported egg share scheme and a wonderful clinic she is now pregnant and we only hope the recipient is too. Please, by all means seek to research, highlight and if needed broadcast issues that need addressing but always offer a truly balanced and non-confrontational prgramme in doing so.
Concerning NHS funding of IVF, Panorama appeared to me to indicate that this is determined by age and no mention was made of the unfair practice of post code medical provision. I am extremely angry that the NHS receives money from general taxation but refuses to provide any treatment in my area. This is clearly unconstitutional and none of the journalists that write about IVF ever appear to mention this either.
Watching Panorama yesterday, it seems to me that people with Professor Craft's attitude should not be allowed to practice medicine. His complete disregard for the sufferings of his non-paying donors was shocking. I hope that the regulatory body now starts a thorough investigation followed by severe sanctions.
I think the programme relied far too heavily on the human story. I would have liked far more facts. How many clinics are there in the UK that work well? How many, like the apparently ethical one in Manchester, are obviously OK? As the mother of a woman who is likely to be going in for IVF in the future, this would have been far more use to me than concentrating on the problems of a minority.
The Panorama programme shown last night emphasised the risks of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation sydrome). The risk of this happening is only 1-2% per cycle and the patients should be scanned and regularly to ensure that this is not happening. Our charity raises awareness of the need for egg and sperm donors to help infertile couples and we have regular contact with all the clinics, NHS & private, licensed by the HFEA. We act as a reference point for potential donors, and have a list of women who have been egg donors who are happy to talk to anyone considering donation.
Unfortunately the programme came across as a war between the two professionals interviewed with the HFEA being piggy in the middle. I am an egg donaton co-ordinator and felt very angry that my work was shown in this way. My unit feels very strongly that everything should be fair and square for everyone. Counselling, support and advice are given freely in a non-judgemental and unbiased way.
Every woman whether she be an egg donor/ egg sharer or a woman having treatment for herself runs the risk of hyperstimulation syndrome, suffer this once and you are likely to suffer this again. Counselling /implications counselling makes this clear for our patients. A consent form is signed by the male and female prior to commencement, stating that this has been discussed and understood.
I feel very sorry for the women who wait for eggs on our list. After this programme they will no doubt wait even longer. Our unit works within the HFEA code of practice and I would like to see a Panorama programme look at units like ours so that it encourages egg donors to come forward rather than push them away. One half-hour on prime TV will have catastrophic results for the infertile women who wait patiently for donated eggs. We will probably have to sit back and watch whilst they all go to America, no doubt this will be another programme you can make to earn money at the expense of the infertile woman.
The fertility system is far from perfect however show me an alternative. As someone embarking on an IVF programme I have been informed of the risk to health and life on more than one occasion, but I dont want to hear that, I just want a baby and will do whatever it takes to fufill this. I appreciate the risks and cost to the NHS, but perhaps if this treatment was openly available from the NHS at a much more subsidised cost, and without the red tape currently involved it would be better regulated and supervised, and any private "cowboys" flouting regulations and taking advantage of vunerable and desperate couples would soon find themselves out of business. The bottom line is we just want a chance to be a Mum and Dad. The NHS can give nose jobs and boob jobs, and we just want a baby job, is it asking too much?
Why is it acceptable for the NHS to pay for people who get repeatably pregnant, pay for the birth, child benefit and possibly contraceptives or even terminations. Most IVF is privately funded due to an inadequate service, poorly run and lacking in knowledge. Basically if the infertility service was organised correctly in this country money would be saved and it would cost no more than services offered in other NHS departments.
I have just finished watching tonight's programme and felt compelled to write. I am a senior nurse in the NHS in which I have spent the whole of my working life so far. I work in a specialist heart and lung hospital where I deal mainly with transplant patients. I obviously fell that this is worthwhile or else I would not do the job. These patients have thousands and thousands of pounds spent on them for their treatment and drug therapy. I however being unable so far to concieve naturally am unable to get any treatment on the NHS as my health authority do not even pay for the drug therapy. I felt that the tone of your programme was very anti this treatment due to the burden put on the NHS because of multiple birth, and with the money I see spent in other sectors of the NHS I resent this. Maybe women would not be so desperate for more than one embryo to be implanted if there was some assistance given to them by the NHS. At the very least there should be some uniformity between health authorities .
I disagree with the school of thought which says only two (or even just one) embryo should be put back into the womb. People making this decision say they are limiting multiple births but this is too simplistic an approach. By doing this they will actively deny many women the chance of having a child. I had two lots of IVF (ICSI): The first time I had three embryos put back and failed to become pregnant. The second time I had three embryos put back and did become pregnant: I had my beautiful daughter - i.e one child, not two or three. If these rules limiting embryos had been in force in 1997 when I had my treatment its hightly likely that I would not have had my daughter.
A very difficult subject to deal with for thousands of women and a very emotional time for childless couples. The programme tonight demonsrated the fine line between having children and putting women's health at risk as well as their life. There are clinics that are putting great medical advances at risk in some of the practices that we saw tonight being carried out. The HFEA should now fully investigate the cases shown in the programme tonight, and should investigate the private clinics carrying out this treatment.
Women are going to private clinics in good faith, and when things go wrong the NHS has to correct the treatment given at great cost. I think that the private clinics where the treatment that went wrong was given, should have to pay the NHS for the corrective treatment given. As usual with great medical advances there are ethical concerns attatched, which private clinics will try and get round.
Although the basis for this programme is highlighting the difficulties that childless couples are having, I am angered that the only reasons for egg donation are always reported due to the recipients age. This is not always the case and that medical problems not associated with age also require the need for egg donation.
Our clinic is very frustrated, as are we waiting for an egg donor, that many donors are discouraged from donating due to the preconception that all recipients want eggs due to their age.
This is increasing the shortage of eggs available for couples like ourselves. The waiting list is long now, but thanks to this programme many couples will never have the possibility of having a baby.
If you wish to help couples like ourselves why not undertake a programme which shows the joy that egg donation can give couples. Of course the programme would have to show what the donor has to be prepared to go through, but some women do and thank God they do. This though may not be "good TV".
I would like to thank you for preventing me from being woken up in the night from a baby crying, because after this there will be a decreasing in the already low number of egg donors.
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