Why should we still have this postcode lottery?

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For those desperate to have children, it can seem like other couples are popping out babies with gleeful abandon.

It is at times like this that having your chances of getting fertility treatment reduced to a postcode lottery can seem particularly cruel.

When we are constantly bombarded with images of happy families and the idea that producing offspring is the norm, indeed the preferred state of being for those who want to but can’t, it is a profoundly upsetting experience.

Anything that can be done to help bring Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport more in line with Nice recommendations should be commended.

The doubling in the number of free IVF cycles from one to two is a very welcome move.

But a seven-year disparity remains between this region’s cut-off – 35 – and the age in the Nice guidelines – 42.

And when it comes to fertility, those seven years may as well be a lifetime.

Yes, there is the choice to go private, but this is a costly process. You could argue that if you can’t afford the private treatment, then you can’t afford the child.

This, however, is a rather reductive argument – we thankfully do not live in a world where prospective parents are means-tested before they are allowed to have children.

Obviously we would prefer all children to be raised in a prosperous environment, but putting limits on prospective parental wealth is a dangerous path.

IVF is not a quick or easy process to enter into, physically or emotionally. It is one that takes many weeks of preparation and careful planning – this is not a simple process where you are whisked into the hospital and come out with an embryo already inserted hours later.

As we have highlighted in The News recently, there are grave concerns with our local NHS and prioritising treatments is a thankless task for those in charge.

But why should people who fall into that seven-year gap effectively be punished for circumstances that may very well be beyond their control?

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