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Making dreams reality

9 October 2017
Appeared in BioNews 921

There was lot of commentary about UK Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last week. The coughing, the prankster, the Frida Kahlo bracelet, bits of the slogan behind her falling off, and of course the 'British dream'.

Not many people picked up on one thing the Prime Minister said: 'It has always been a great sadness for me and Philip that we were never blessed with children. It seems some things in life are just never meant to be.' A rather fatalistic comment.

A lot of infertile people who live in England are seeing their prospects of state-funded fertility treatment cut. With those cuts some will see their dream of having a family vanish, while others will spend many thousands of pounds on private treatment. Are these couples supposed to accept their lot and not demand that the NICE Guideline recommending three full cycles of fertility treatment be implemented in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as it is in Scotland? Should they just resign themselves to the fact that an unelected Clinical Commissioning Group in Cambridge or Croydon (see BioNews 917 and 893) can consult on cutting funding for IVF, ignore the response of the local people, and cut the service?

This is an issue which BioNews has been covering for years, and which the Progress Educational Trust (PET, the charity which publishes BioNews) has been campaigning about for years, because PET seeks to improve choices for people affected by infertility.

Meanwhile this week, a less expensive method fertility treatment has been launched in London's Harley Street of all places. Certain patients will be able to have treatment for just £2500 and that includes the drugs, so for some that dream of having a family may become just a little bit more affordable. Sky News came to the PET office to film our thoughts on this.

In other news, one woman's dream became her former partner's nightmare when he found out that she had forged his signature on a fertility clinic's consent form and become pregnant with his child. He lost his High Court case for damages for the cost of bringing his daughter up (as discussed elsewhere in BioNews this week). BBC Radio London interviewed me about this on Friday night.

This week our hopes for a dream line-up at our Annual Conference, 'Crossing Frontiers: Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction', were realised when Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz - professor of mammalian development and stem cell biology at the University of Cambridge - confirmed that she was able to speak.

It isn't only the Prime Minister that has a bad day at the office – we had our own nightmare here with no phone line for two days, and no internet for more than half a day when fixing the phone somehow broke the internet! Of course this had to happen when we were trying to promote our next event, which is taking place in Sheffield.

There are many more dreams we would like to come true, such as holding more events outside London and filming them to make them more widely available, and we need your support to help us fulfil them.

We really treasure every donation we receive, and we do everything we can to maximise our resources to fulfil our vision of improving choices for people affected by infertility and genetic conditions.

But even so we need your help. Please help us reach our £4000 target via PayPal (click here), by text (text 'PROG23 £10' or any other amount to 70070), or by post (as detailed here). Or even better, become a Friend of PET as detailed here and give us a regular donation.

Thank you.

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