Couple furious after IVF treatment axed because they haven’t had Covid jabs


Jemma McDonald and her partner Hayden Brown decided against getting the jab after the Scottish Government initially advised women hoping to get pregnant to avoid it, however this advice has since changed

Jemma McDonald and Hayden Brown are furious about being denied IVF treatment
Jemma McDonald and Hayden Brown are furious about being denied IVF treatment

A couple desperate to have children through IVF are furious about their treatment being axed because they are not vaccinated.

Jemma McDonald and her partner Hayden Brown decided against getting jabbed after the Scottish Government initially said those hoping to become pregnant should avoid it.

The advice has since changed – as the jab is safe for pregnant women – but the couple still had concerns and wanted to speak to a doctor before having their vaccines, the Daily Record reports.

Their fertility plans have now been thrown into disarray after the Scottish Government suspended fertility treatment for unvaccinated women.

Ministers implemented the change due to rising Covid cases and the ‘significant risks’ to unvaccinated pregnant women and their babies.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie called the move “inhumane”.

Jemma and Hayden, both 25, from Glasgow, have been trying for a baby for almost three years.

Jemma and Hayden decided against getting the jab because of early advice from the Scottish Government, although this has now changed
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Image:

Garry F McHarg Daily Record)

A map showing Covid case rates per 100,000 people in the UK
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Image:

Gov.uk)

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Nursery teacher Jemma said: “I spoke to a receptionist who said there were some phone calls being made because if you hadn’t been vaccinated you were no longer eligible to get IVF.

“Two people were turned away at reception who were due to have their transfer (the process of removing eggs for fertilisation) that day. They were turned away at the front door without any warning.”

The couple have a genetic issue which means they need to have PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) before IVF to ensure they have a healthy child.

The testing they have had to undergo took several years but in January they were due to sign the consent forms to begin the process and were hopeful this Christmas would have been their last without a child.

But now the couple’s hopes have been dashed.

Jemma and scaffolder Hayden had decided not to have their Covid jabs because in the early days of Scotland’s vaccination programme, pregnant women and those hoping to become pregnant were advised against getting jabbed.

Medics believed they did not have enough data to guarantee the safety of mum and baby.

However that advice changed with the growing number of pregnant women ending up in hospital and in intensive care.

Jemma said: “I had wanted to speak to doctors and nurses face-to-face about vaccinations to see what was best to do.

“At the start the government said we shouldn’t get the vaccinations.

“I just feel personally there is not enough evidence about what could potentially happen to a baby in three or four years time.

“I still haven’t had the opportunity to discuss that with anyone.

“Going through IVF is hard enough without just beginning to see the finishing line and then being thrown back to the start again.

“It is really hard mentally as well.

“I do have a good support network but to hear about this just a couple of days before Christmas was really upsetting.

“I had hoped to be pregnant by March or April but if I have to be vaccinated first it could be the end of this year rather than the start before it happens.

“I feel it is a complete breach of our human rights.”

Another woman desperate to have a child told how she “cried for two hours” after being delivered the crushing blow on Christmas Eve.

The woman and her partner do not wish to be identified as their families do not know they have received fertility treatment.

The couple have been trying for three years to conceive and have been told they have “unexplained infertility”.

They were about to begin a series of injections with implantation expected within the next month.

The couple first heard rumours of the policy change on an IVF forum on December 23.

But it was Christmas Eve before their worst fears were confirmed.

She said: “I got a call to ask if I had been double vaccinated and when I said no they said no-one who hadn’t been vaccinated was being treated now.

“I was heartbroken. I just burst into tears. It was so abrupt, there was no discussion about it.”
The woman, an early years practitioner, had heard from friends that the vaccine had affected their menstrual cycle.

She said: “I know that doesn’t happen to everyone but when you have fertility issues it is an added worry that it could have an impact on treatment.

“Going through IVF is already emotional.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Covid-19 vaccines are safe and strongly recommended in pregnancy to reduce the significant risks of Covid to unvaccinated pregnant women and their babies.

“Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases, and concerns about the impact on unvaccinated women, Ministers have taken a decision to temporarily defer fertility treatment for women who are not fully vaccinated. We continue to review the evidence and will look to review this decision early this year.”

The latest evidence from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System and the Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK shows that unvaccinated pregnant women and their babies have died after admission to hospital with Covid-19 and that 98 per cent of pregnant women in ICU with Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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