dr Max Pemberton: The IVF industry trades in false dreams

The birth of a baby is a miracle. But for those who later left motherhood, it’s more of a miracle than we sometimes care to acknowledge.

For women balancing the demands of a career with the desire to become parents, egg freezing — with the idea of ​​abandoning IVF until things are settled, when life seems more stable — may be the perfect answer be.

But that leaves women vulnerable to exploitation.

At an annual conference last week, Oxford University fertility expert Professor Imogen Goold argued that egg freezing clinics are selling anxious women a false dream – offering to freeze them until a woman is ready to conceive.

dr Max Pemberton (pictured) says IVF's appeal'makes women vulnerable to exploitation'

dr Max Pemberton (pictured) says IVF’s appeal ‘makes women vulnerable to exploitation’

Professor Goodold argued that clinics “exploit” women and sell them a treatment they may not need or are unlikely to work, especially when they are in their late 30s.

Unfortunately, the world of IVF is the wild west of medicine; There is no independent body monitoring this. The UK today has one of the highest rates of women over 40 in Europe, with the number of births in this age group having tripled in the last 20 years.

But among women aged 42 to 43, only 3 percent will have a baby. For those over 44, the success rate is just 1 percent—that’s a 99 percent failure rate.

The message from these statistics should be that IVF rarely works and therefore women should not rely on them to help them.


“The truth is that freezing eggs all too often brings a false sense of security,” says Dr. Max

If you want to have a child, it is better to start as early as possible. Don’t think you can cheat biology with IVF.

But women are told the complete opposite.

They are falsely assured that IVF will give them what they want, when in reality those who try to have their families in their late 30s or 40s are far more likely to remain childless. IVF can be grueling, exhausting, disappointing, frustrating and ultimately futile for many. But too many are pinning their hopes on it.

Is it any wonder that research shows that 10 percent of women undergoing IVF report having suicidal thoughts?

While there are strict guidelines for procedures and processes in IVF, there is very little to scrutinize the promises made by the industry.

Clinics are free to play with people’s emotions and downplay the risks or opportunities of failure.

There is no incentive for these clinics to explain to women the harsh, uncomfortable reality of their own biology. Instead, they sell a fiction that people love to hear.

Too many in the IVF industry are little more than snake oil sellers.

The industry’s biggest coup, however, has been the mindset change it has brought about.

While 30 years ago the inability to conceive was something individuals and couples had to come to terms with, today subfertile couples are expected to receive medical help even when the chances of successful conception are biologically infinitesimal.

What was once seen as a quirk of fate is within a generation perceived as a treatable disease. In fact, the unstoppable advance of IVF means that there is now such a strong expectation that all couples who are struggling to conceive will try, those who feel it might be too much of an ordeal or who Accept childlessness as their lot, as unusual.

Maybe we, the media, have to take some of the blame too.

We celebrate the “miracle” babies born to loving parents who had given up all hope, but rarely speak of the vast majority who remain on the hectic IVF treadmill and then, after years and thousands of pounds, are forced , sad to admit defeat.

For fear of appearing heartless, we avoid asking celebrity mothers in their 50s who are having babies (clearly from donor eggs) sensitive questions that fuel a myth that motherhood no longer needs to be constrained by biological reality.

Clinics that offer egg freezing rely on women being scared and wanting to throw money at a problem. But these clinics have a vested interest in convincing women that they need to buy into this process as an insurance policy by highlighting their success rates while burying their failures.

The truth is that all too often the only thing freezing your eggs entails is a false sense of security.

Lottie was right to walk the runway

Lottie Moss, 24, has said she retired from modeling because of her mental health.

At 13, she was being dubbed “the new Kate Moss” after being a bridesmaid at her supermodel half-sister Kate’s wedding to now ex-husband Jamie Hince in 2011.

Lottie Moss (left), 24, has said she retired from modeling because of her mental health

Lottie Moss (left), 24, has said she retired from modeling because of her mental health

It can’t be easy being related to one of the most famous models of all time and constantly being compared to her. Whatever you do, people will inevitably draw attention to the similarities and differences between you and your more successful sister.

It must be a very disturbing experience to know that’s what goes through a lot of people’s minds when they first meet you.

So I am glad that she has decided to leave an industry that has historically not cared about people’s well-being.

The sad thing about the nurses’ strike is that it will undoubtedly undermine public confidence in the profession. Patients will suffer. Asking for more money does not solve the problem of overwork and lack of nurses in the wards.

Anyone who has followed the tragic story of law graduate Zara Aleena will have been enraged by her killer’s pathetic refusal to appear in court for sentencing because he did not want to “relive” the night he murdered her . What a coward.

There has been much debate about what to do with people who commit similar heinous crimes. Unfortunately, having worked in forensics, I have a rather bleak view of the reality of rehabilitating criminals, particularly those with a history of violence like he did.

My solution would be to significantly increase prison sentences for those who commit violent crimes. Zara’s killer, Jordan McSweeney, had 28 prior convictions for 69 different offenses before the murder and had been released from his license just over a week earlier.

I would also reintroduce the old French system where people who keep committing crimes are recognized as a threat to society and sentenced to life imprisonment.



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Edmund DeMarche

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