Long NHS waiting lists cutting chances of pregnancy, fertility chief warns | NHS

The chances of future parents having a baby are being affected by the NHS’s long waiting list for women’s health treatments, warned Britain’s fertility chief.

Julia Chain, chairman of the UK’s birth regulator, the Human Fertility and Embryology Agency (HFEA), said the delay in getting women diagnosed and treated for gynecological problems has led to the immediate use of in vitro fertilization. He said it would not be able to start and would be less likely to work as a result.

Studies show that the later women start fertility treatments, the lower their success rate. Approximately one-third of IVF cycles in women under 35 lead to the birth of a baby, compared to one-fourth in women aged 35-37 and one-fifth in women aged 38-39. is indicated by the HFEA figures.

“After the pandemic, we know that the NHS waiting list is getting longer and there are many patients who may need intervention before they can start treatment. [fertility] Long waits can put treatment at a huge disadvantage,” Chain said.

“That means they’re older when they start fertility treatments. Time is very important because as women get older, their fertility success rates decline.”

Wait times in gynecology in the UK have tripled over the past decade and are growing faster than in most other health care areas, with women now waiting an average of four months for their first hospital appointment.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), Cheyne said the health care service should provide women with the treatment they need (fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the uterus)) before starting IVF. , etc.) are often put off until later. It was not life threatening. She says that delays in starting IVF often require couples to take more cycles, ultimately costing her NHS more “hidden” due to the inability to address such issues quickly. warned about the cost.

Leeds doctor Antonia Harrison, 32, was referred last March for a diagnostic test to find out why she and her husband, Chris, 35, were having trouble conceiving. She called the hospital in June and was told that her wait time was her 52 weeks, with more than 950 patients in line ahead of her.

“Every month is important when you’re trying to have a baby. I knew I’d have to wait, but I never imagined it would take this long,” Harrison said.

Feeling that she had no other choice, she called back the clinic’s personal number and the same receptionist booked her to see the same consultant two weeks later. The couple paid £1,100 for appointments and tests, which took about four months to complete, and two months later they were able to begin NHS-funded fertility treatment.

“After getting tested, I had no issues, but I feel like I can’t even get on the waiting list because I’m so hindered from getting the first one,” Harrison said. “We were fortunate enough to be able to pay, but it’s sad and frustrating that it’s only an option for those who can afford it.”

Delays can also be costly for couples, as NHS funding for IVF is dependent on the age of the woman. National guidelines say eligible patients under the age of 43 should be funded, but some regions do not offer women over the age of 35 her IVF through her NHS. .

PET Director Sarah Norcross said:

An NHS spokesperson said: It’s important that women continue to seek care when they need it, as the latest data show that waiting lists have fallen for the first time since the pandemic began. ”

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