A Labour MP has spoken out about her battle to conceive and how she finally achieved success with IVF despite the “postcode lottery” which exists in services.
Feryal Clark, MP for Enfield North, told Gloria De Piero on GB News about her struggle to conceive in a frank interview.
“I got pregnant in the August of 2020, so we’d gone into lockdown and then over summer it was a bit more relaxed and that’s when…I had my baby through IVF,” she said.
I’d been going through IVF for a long time, and I’d waited a long time to have my baby.
“So, I decided not to waste any more time and when I got the opportunity to go for IVF again, to have my transfers that summer I did, and I was very lucky, and it worked.”
Asked why she had IVF, Ms Clark explained: “We’d been trying for several years, quite a few years and I’ve had several miscarriages.
“And so, I went through IVF through the NHS, which was an interesting experience.”
She said the process was tough and she had difficulty even convincing her GP that she should have the treatment.
“I think women are so hard done by the NHS anyway, on every front, but on fertility and IVF it’s just so unfair.
“You’ve got a postcode lottery, you know, some places only allowing you one round of IVF, some places allowing three rounds, everyone putting different restrictions.
“There are so many barriers, it was a fight at every stage to get to treatment.
“I’d fought really hard for it, and it was really, really difficult. And it didn’t work, it didn’t work through the NHS and then I had to go private.”
The cost of IVF and lack of NHS availability were criticised by Ms Clark: “At the moment, only 35% of all IVF treatments are undertaken by the NHS, everyone else is having to go private.
“I mean that’s really damning, women are being forced to go private, and it’s extortionate, it’s really, really expensive for families.”
She said she got pregnant after five rounds of treatment: “…it was really difficult because you don’t want to tell anyone.
“You’re a bit embarrassed because it feels, you know there’s that whole stigma around feeling like a bit of a failure for not being able to conceive.
“And so, you always hide it, and I very much felt that stigma, so I didn’t tell anyone.
“So, it meant that I had to take breaks like halfway through my meetings to rush into toilets where I would mix my drugs and, you know, the solution and the powder and lots of different syringes, and like inject myself and then run back.”
She added: “It is hard, because for the first couple of times I had enough embryos to do two transfers. But then, after that we didn’t collect enough eggs, so you’re having to go through the whole process of injections and blood tests and scans and – it’s a lot of appointments and a lot of time off work.”
Describing the moment she discovered she was pregnant, Ms Clark said: “It was amazing. But for so many women, because through the NHS, IVF just stopped completely, and it’s taken ages and ages for it to restart again.
“So, it’s been hard. But yeah, and I have a little, lovely, beautiful, little munchkin. I have a daughter now, who is 13 months old now.”
She told Gloria that she of Kurdish heritage and that her parents migrated from Turkey to the UK in the 1980s.
Ms Clark said the current level of political debate around asylum seekers made her “a little bit angry because when my family came here, I was a child, I went to primary school here and all my upbringing was in this country, in this city [London].
“Our city, our neighbourhood, our community was a lot more welcoming…it’s very sad, it’s very, very sad, where we’ve got to.”