By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie has welcomed reassurances from the Scottish Government that no-one will be disadvantaged by the pause in IVF treatment.
During a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Covid Recovery Committee last week, Ms Baillie raised the issue with Deputy First Minister John Swinney and National Clinical Director Jason Leitch.
It followed the decision taken by ministers at the end of last year to pause infertility treatment for those who had not had their first two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
In a statement issued to media at the time, it said ministers had taken the decision to temporarily defer fertility treatment for women not fully vaccinated “due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases” however during the meeting, Professor Leitch advised it wasn’t about case rates but about protecting women and babies.
In response to a question from Jackie Baillie, he said that any couples affected would benefit from an extension of treatment time or cycles depending on what stage of their treatment they were at.
Jackie Baillie, pictured right, who is Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Health and Covid recovery, said: “I welcome the commitment that no couple will be disadvantaged by the fact that the fertility programme was paused.
“I do however understand that those couples impacted who would have been due to go through treatment early this year will feel that they have already been disadvantaged and have had a very anxious Christmas following the decision on December 23.
“They were told at the time that this was due to rising Covid cases however it transpires that it is about the protection of at-risk groups which includes pregnant women.
“I hope this announcement is of some comfort to those most affected and that clinicians have open and honest conversations with them about how they can best protect themselves going forward.
“I have always believed that vaccination is the best form of protection against Covid but I understand that previous messages were unclear to pregnant women over risks associated with the vaccine.
“The Deputy First Minister advised at the meeting that treatment would resume as soon as possible. I would urge, given that other protective measures are being lifted in the coming days, that the resumption of IVF is treated with urgency as time is crucial for many couples who have to go through this highly emotional procedure.”