The headline in The Independent (UK) over a story by freelance journalist Rachel Tompkins says it all: “IVF clinics are exploiting the desperation of people like me – and there’s no law to stop it”.
It’s a sad but familiar story. She came off the Pill at 29 shortly after getting married. But to her consternation she did not find it easy to fall pregnant. So she and her husband resorted to IVF. The first round worked and a son was born. But two years later, it was a different story, with one miscarriage after another. “After spending more than £10,000 on a dream that wasn’t meant to be, we were faltering. Sanity and savings aren’t infinite.”
Fortunately, her story has a happy ending: she conceived naturally. But she asks some tough questions about the IVF industry:
“Preying on the vulnerability of someone so desperate for a child that they are often already getting into debt and pushed to the brink of mental health problems can surely be nothing less than criminal. I, like many others on their fertility journey, became so wrapped up in the process that I would have tried absolutely anything the doctors suggested. These opportunist clinics are committing the most heinous abuses of trust and power ...
“Not a day goes by when I don’t count myself beyond lucky to have both my children. But even thinking about the fact that some of these clinics are preying on vulnerable people like myself just to make money is totally abhorrent. Surely tighter measures need to be in place so that desperate people aren’t taken advantage of and put through any more heartache than they’re already facing.”
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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