NHS Meltdown: Massive Cuts Loom as UK May Give Free IVF for Menopausal Women

by The Center for Bioethics and Culture on June 29, 2010

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

Good grief. The Telegraph is warning of terrible slashing cuts in the NHS budget. From the story:

The NHS is suffering potentially devastating cuts to jobs and patient services as the Government’s austerity drive hits the health service, doctors’ leaders have warned. Thousands of doctors and nurses face being made redundant or not replaced if they leave, while many hospitals have cut treatments, the British Medical Association has found.

At the same time the Daily Mail tells us that expensive IVF for women over 40 may be required to prevent lawsuits over age discrimination. From the story:

Women over the age of 40 could get free fertility treatment on the NHS for the first time. The Health Service may have to scrap controversial age limits for IVF to avoid the threat of being sued under age discrimination laws. In future, trusts may decide whether women can have free IVF cycles by testing how many eggs they have left – their ‘ovarian reserve’ – rather than imposing a blanket ban over the age of 40. Last night critics said that encouraging women to have babies in middle age would put both mother and child at risk.

So, some seriously ill patients might get rationed out of a stay in hospital, or receive less than optimal care due to a nursing shortage, as money will be diverted to older women so they can give birth past their time? I’m sorry, but that is just nuts. Having difficulty conceiving after 40 isn’t a medical condition. It’s natural aging. But this is a reality of health care rationing–it is often driven by plain old politics.

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