Homerton Hospital patients share 'devastation' at wait for IVF treatment

Homerton University Hospital

Homerton University Hospital - Credit: LDRS

Women facing a long wait for fertility treatment at Homerton Hospital have spoken about their devastation at their long wait. 

One woman, who did not wish to be named, was due to start her first IVF cycle in February only to be told it would not go ahead, 

She said: “It affects you quite significantly because you do not know how long you’ll have to wait for treatment.

“My life is on hold now.”

The 37-year-old from Enfield, who had her first appointment at the Homerton last May, said she is now considering trying to find money for private treatment after hospital staff told her she could looking at a six to nine-month delay.

“It’s a rollercoaster,” she said. “If it does not go ahead for another nine months, I will have been waiting for one year and nine months.

“It’s common knowledge that after 35 your fertility reduces significantly. So a year means it reduces your chances of being successful or not being successful.”

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Homerton said it is facing “some extraordinary and unforeseen operational challenges”, including staff shortages. 

These have led to delays and complaints from patients who were already affected by the pandemic, which meant some treatments had already been put on hold.

The problem came when clinical scientists left the fertility unit within a short period.

The hospital said: “We have been unable to replace them yet, leaving us with a shortage of staff to perform vital embryology procedures in the unit. Recruitment of new clinical scientists is being carried out as a matter of urgency.”

The hospital hopes to resume normal service within six months.

It has “secured capacity at two other London NHS fertility centres for Homerton patients to continue their treatment”.

The clinicians’ patient clinics, diagnostic work, ovulation induction, frozen embryo transfer and IUI (intrauterine insemination) will continue as normal.

Homerton is trying to make sure its patients can get treatment faster, including finding them places at other NHS centres.

The hospital is offering counselling to affected patients and asking GPs to refer people too.