13 September 2010
ByAppeared in BioNews 575
British women are prepared to spend an average of £15,000 in order to conceive, a survey has shown, with one in ten willing to spend over £50,000 on fertility treatment.
The survey, carried out for Red magazine as their Red Annual National Fertility Report, asked 2,000 women aged between 30 and 45 about fertility treatment. According to the results, published in the October edition of the women's fashion and lifestyle magazine, 38 per cent of women had struggled to conceive. One in ten had sought some form of fertility treatment, with the average amount spent at £8,678.
Nearly all the women said that they would take on extra work and reduce pension contributions in order to pay for the treatment, with over 90 per cent saying they would cut back on holidays, eating out, new clothes and beauty products. Almost a quarter of the women who had IVF had turned to family members and grandparents-to-be for financial help.
Despite the high costs, the success rates of IVF are low. Of the women surveyed, 47 per cent of those who had undergone IVF failed at conceiving, and 18 per cent had undergone more than five cycles.
IVF is known to be highly invasive and difficult. In fact, 65 per cent of the women said that undergoing fertility treatments was more stressful than being made redundant, and 76 per cent found it more stressful than moving house.
Currently 45,000 cycles of IVF are carried out each year in Britain. The NHS provides a limited number of IVF cycles to certain people, but different PCTs have different criteria for deciding who should be allowed it, thereby creating a 'postcode lottery' for state-funded treatment. These criteria may include age, weight and the number of children the woman already has from the current and any previous relationships. A massive 95 per cent of the women in the survey thought that this system was unfair, with 25 per cent saying they would move home for a better chance of getting IVF for free.
Another issue tackled by the survey was egg donation; nearly half of the women think that those who donate their eggs should be paid a minimum of £1,270.
Sam Baker, editor-in-chief of Red, said: 'the report provides an in-depth view into the quest for fertility among British women. Even though we are in the midst of economic uncertainty, the fertility industry has proved itself to be completely recession-proof. Our report shows that women are prepared to make huge financial sacrifices as they do whatever it takes to conceive, cutting back on holidays or pensions in order to boost their chances of having family'.