Covid: IVF delays mean couple miss out on chance for treatment

Michelle and Adam Cunningham from Chesterfield, both in their 30s, spent a lot of last year struggling to access IVF treatment so they could start a family.

Last month they received the news that Michelle had early-onset menopause - and that they had missed their opportunity for treatment.

"At the back of your mind you are always wondering, 'Is there going to be a good outcome here? A good solution?' And when you're hit with that news, it's quite difficult to digest.

The covid restrictions did have an impact on appointments not being met, we did lose a lot of time really, and if we had been in normal circumstances it might have been a different entity really."

- Michelle Cunningham

Almost half of couples currently seeking IVF say they are worried that the coronavirus restrictions may end their dreams of starting a family. Treatment was suspended for two months in 2020, and despite it re-starting a few weeks after the first lockdown, there is still a huge backlog for some services.

Some people are choosing to go privately, with the increased financial pressures, for fear of losing out on their chance.

A recent survey by support group The Fertility Help Hub claims all respondents felt mentally traumatised by setbacks caused by IVF delays, and 47% feared Covid could spell the end of their parenthood chances.

NHS England say they encourage Clinical Commissioning Groups to be flexible and sensitive for those whose investigations or planned treatment were disrupted due to Covid, ensuring that those seeking fertility treatment are treated fairly.

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