A national newspaper columnist has questioned the wisdom of the NHS funding IVF for over 40s – following draft guidance which recommended such a move.
Writing as a woman who knows “what it’s like to be desperate for a child”, Amanda Platell warned that the idea of giving free IVF to some women up to the age of 42 is not only wasteful but also cruel.
In her column she also suggested the reason some people put off having children is because they pursued other goals earlier in life.
And she says the “cash-strapped” NHS should not be diverting its resources from other needs.
The columnist described how she had experienced the “envy of seeing friends deliver another child effortlessly” and the sadness of wishing she was able to buy baby clothes for her own child and not someone else’s.
But she said that after a series of operations and a decade of trying, she had to face the “reality” that being a mother was not an “entitlement”.
However she added: “I spent my own hard-earned cash paying for my treatment” because she thought it was wrong for the state to pay.
Amanda Platell also warned about the “terrible cycle of hope and despair” for older women having IVF, and noted that it often does not lead to pregnancy for women over 40.
The commentator wrote that some women focus on jobs, homes and luxuries before getting to 40 and realising that they want a baby.
But she said taxpayers should not have to “fork out millions of pounds for the lifestyle choices” of these women.
The columnist commented that many are “putting off motherhood until their 40s” because of a “decision to pursue their own lives and happiness and let motherhood wait until they’re ready”.
“Too often by then it is too late, which is terribly sad. But if these women really were so driven by their maternal instincts, they wouldn’t have left it two decades, would they?”, she concluded.