Research Project on IVF Access!

Today’s Guest Blog post is by Becca Muir. She’s a PhD student looking into IVF access in London and the NE of England. She’s looking to speak to people in those areas who have accessed or tried to access IVF for whatever reason, and she’d love to hear from you!

Have you tried to access IVF in the last 5 years? Are you in the North East of England or North East London? Did you face any barriers to access because of BMI, age, or another clinical-related restriction? If so, read on!

About the project

My name is Becca Muir. I am a PhD student at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and my project is around IVF access.

Becca Muir, PhD student looking at IVF access
Becca Muir

NHS IVF is in high demand across the UK. Local commissioning groups set their own criteria to restrict access to the service. This project aims to understand how policy decisions around IVF are made, and how people assigned female at birth are affected long-term by IVF restrictions.

It is not clear how people are affected long-term by NHS IVF restrictions. Or how policymakers make decisions around NHS IVF access. This study will elevate the voices of women and others assigned female at birth affected. It hopes to uncover new perspectives, and help understand how rationing decisions are made in practice.

What does participation involve?

I am looking to interview people affected by restrictions to explore how IVF fits into people’s life stories.

There will be two interviews. An initial interview, and then in a follow-up interview later you will be asked more personally tailored questions. I will use a ‘biography’ based method to understand your experience.

When?

Interviewing can take place online, or in a private environment in either the North East of England or in North East London.

It can be anytime to suit you – daytime, evenings or weekends. Time commitment will be 1-2 hours per interview.

Is there any payment?

As a thank you for taking part, you will receive £80 worth of high street gift vouchers (£40 for each interview you do).

For more information, please contact me at r.l.muir@qmul.ac.uk with the subject line, ‘The IVF access study’.

Thank you for reading!
Becca Muir

Thanks Becca for doing some essential research in this area!

Fertility seems to be one of the least transparent healthcare processes in terms of restricted access. Even when the reasons given are clear, the rationale behind restrictions is often opaque and/or poorly evidenced. There seems to be very little anyone seeking to gain access to treatment can do about challenging this, and no real process by which it can be challenged?

We all pay into this healthcare system, and we all deserve equitable access to it. In other spheres of healthcare, there are robust systems to ensure rationing is fair and effective. Yet fertility treatment and IVF access seem to play by another set of rules entirely, forcing people who want to get pregnant into making difficult and potentially unhealthy and expensive choices to access the care they need and deserve.

I really hope Becca’s work can highlight the impact of IVF access restrictions, and we will see a more holistic and fair attitude to health and fertility in future.

Woman of east Asian heritage looking worriedly at a leaflet about IVF

Leave a reply here to get involved!