LETTER: INFERTILITY IS AN ILLNESS AND THE NHS SHOULD PROVIDE TREATMENT

From Dr John Mills

Sir: Your editorial "The bottom line on IVF babies" (18 April) makes some interesting suggestions regarding the funding of infertility treatment. The British Fertility Society, which comprises some 800 clinicians, scientists, nurses and counsellors, would take issue with you in one particular.

We would indeed classify the inability to have children as being an illness in the same way as failure to achieve any other physiological norm would be regarded. Furthermore, it is an illness which can be treated with remarkable success if a couple are offered three treatment cycles, and those NHS units already active in this field are seeing the price of a treatment cycle drop quite dramatically. Given the purchasing power of the Health Service, one can expect a treatment cycle of in vitro fertilisation, including drugs, to cost less than £1,000.

The society is saddened to see the apparent bartering of different diseases by political parties and does hope that this leak to the Press will not be substantiated in the definitive policy paper from the Labour Party.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN MILLS

The British Fertility Society

IVF Unit

Ninewells Hospital

Dundee

18 April

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