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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
'Vast' public support for IVF
Louise Brown
First cry: Louise Brown moments after birth
The vast majority of people think in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) should be freely available on the NHS to anyone who needs it, a survey says.

The findings emerged from a survey in Bristol to investigate public attitudes towards IVF.

About 800 people were asked the question: "Do you feel that the NHS should fund IVF treatment for infertility in the same manner that the NHS supports treatments for other medical disorders?"

More than 40% replied "yes, definitely" and almost 30% said "yes".

Overall the questionnaire was supportive of NHS-funded infertility services and an end to the `post-code lottery' of provision
Julian Jenkins
University of Bristol

Only 12.3% replied "no" to the question, and 4% "no, definitely not".

Just over 13% said they were "neutral".

Louise Brown, the world's first test tube bay, currently lives in Bristol, having been born on July 25,1978 in Oldham.

Since then, more than a million babies around the world have been born as a result of IVF treatment.

The survey was created by Dr Penny Fidler of the science and discovery centre, At-Bristol, and Dr Julian Jenkins, clinical director of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Bristol University.

Dr Jenkins said: "The survey shows that it was not generally felt that treatment should be denied solely due to a lower chance of success.

"But the age of the mother was an important consideration with different views on the upper age limit."

Nearly 40% thought women of 40 should be entitled to IVF treatment on the NHS.

'Patchy provision'

Dr Jenkins continued: "Overall the questionnaire was supportive of NHS-funded infertility services and an end to the `post-code lottery' of provision."

Almost 90% of those questioned felt couples should have equal access to fertility treatment wherever they lived in the UK.

Just under 70% thought a couple's chances of pregnancy should not make any difference to whether or not they received IVF.

At present, IVF provision is patchy in the UK with some centres offering the service on the NHS and others not.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is currently drawing up new IVF guidelines which should be published early next year.




SEE ALSO:
IVF: An African dream
23 Jul 03  |  Health
'I helped deliver Louise'
21 Jul 03  |  Health
'Why I oppose IVF'
23 Jul 03  |  Health


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