IVF for single women calls into question Government’s family values
Further doubts have been cast over how family-friendly the current Government is after it has come to light that a number of NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are offering fertility treatment to single women, whilst in other areas some couples in stable relationships are denied treatment.
An investigation by the Daily Telegraph into IVF treatment offered on the NHS found that 24 of the 135 PCTs which responded to the enquiries were offering IVF to single women.
The practice goes against official guidelines, which encourage support being given to couples who have been trying to have a child for several years.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, passed under the previous Government, removed the mention of “the need for a father”, replacing it instead with “the need for supportive parenting”.
Bishop Micahel Nazir-Ali, who was previously chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority until 2003, said: “The irony is that at the very time research is showing the need for both parents, we are writing fathers out of the legislation.
“It’s one thing for a mother to find herself a single parent because of tragic circumstances. It’s quite another to plan for a situation where the child comes into the world without having a father or any possibility of having a father.”
Frank Field, the Labour MP, commented: “It’s clearly wrong that while couples in stable relationships can’t get IVF and in other areas, single women can.
“It’s really important that Government ministers speak up for children who are the ones left out of this. It needs someone in a position of authority to reflect what most taxpayers think.”
David Cameron had promised that the Government would be “the most family friendly we’ve ever had in this country”.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said:
“The Family is slowly being redefined and it is children who are most adversely affected. Every child has the right to a mother and a father.”