Friday, March 25, 2011

Letters received, a decision made

This week a letter arrived back from the Member of Parliament (MP):

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dear [Kaitake] and [Hubby]

Thank you for the copy of correspondence between yourself and [One of the authors of the report: Access to Infertility Services: development of priority criteria: a consultation document. Simply referred to as "Author" from now on]. It was interesting to read and after the meeting in my office, it became clear that the single issue stopping funding at this point is when the three year time-frame officially commences for a couple who have one partner sterilised.

[The Author's] comments around the duration of infertility and balance of fairness they seek to manage are important considerations.

Following up from your recent visit and the information you have previously provided, I have written to the Minister of Health and received a reply last week from the Hon Tony Ryall, which I enclose to you.

The Minister's third paragraph mentions that a request for a second opinion on the review of your CPAC score can be made to the [local health board]. [The Author's] opinion is that the CPAC score was correct according to the criteria; however seeking a further review and if possible, a fresh assessment which takes into consideration [Kaitake's] diabetic condition, may be worthy of further consideration.

I know that IVF treatment is expensive. Failing public funding, consideration around personal funding is something you could consider if the waiting period is too harrowing for you. These are deeply personal and highly important issues and I wish you all the very best in approaching the [local health board] for a review.

If we can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to contact my office.

Kind regards,

and here is the letter from the Minister of Health that the was mentioned:

14 Mar 2011

Dear [MP],

Thank you for your email of 25 February 2011 on behalf of your constituent what has asked if her application for publicly funded IVF treatment can be reviewed.

Your constituent will have been assessed by a clinician using the clinical priority access criteria (CPAC) tool. CPAC is a decision-making tool to assess a candidate's suitability for publicly funded fertility treatment and takes into account a variety of factors such as the candidate's age and Follicule Stimulating Hormone level. Decision on who qualifies for publicly funded IVF treatment are made by clinicians.

Ministry of Health officials advise me that a second opinion to review your constituents's CPAC score can be requested from [the local health board]. Your constituent can contact the Chief Executive of [the local health board] by writing to:

[contact details enclosed]

Your sincerely

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

There are just so many things wrong with these letters it's unbelievable. The MP suggest we pay for fertility treatment ourselves (well, duh! of course we would if we could! we're not all BMW owners). I don't particularly feel like divulging all our financial concerns to him, I mean, I think I've been pretty honest so far. Told him about our fertility problems for godsake.

Then there is the Minister of Health politely passing-the-buck back to the local health board. Who don't offer fertility services. Oh, yeah, and I consider it pretty insulting the way he has just parroted off some crap about FSH... there is nothing wrong with my FSH. Get with the picture and stop telling me useless pieces of information. It's so reassuring to know that when the clinic gets it wrong, you can't actually get results from the government, because "clinicians make the decisions". And who monitors them, eh??

And I especially like the way that no one has taken notice of the fact that there is actually more than one issue for us here:

  1. in our case, a 3 year wait is a penalty. We are being penalised for my husband having done the socially upstanding thing of having a vasectomy in his previous relationship. There is no medical reason for a 3 year wait (with unexplained infertility, waiting 3 years = 80% chance that the couple will have conceived naturally). In fact, for us it increases the chance of my having a child with Down's syndrome, or having complications, or dying in childbirth. (we will be eligible for public funding in September 2012, I will have clicked over 30yrs. We will still have an 18 month waiting list after that. The earliest I could become a Mum is 2014 or 2015, it may even be 2016. I better bloody have my flying car by then, cos that's the future.)
  2. the incredibly bad and uncaring way in which the Hamilton FA clinic has treated us, like we are second rate citizens
  3. the way the CPAC form is engineered against us, specifically designed to deny us the right to have a family. It is discriminatory. The points are not deducted for having a sterilisation, or something logical like that, which I could understand. No, the 30 (!) points we lost were because of a catch-22 situation where the have to engineer a "when did your infertility begin?" date, so they base it on the first time you saw a doctor for infertility. This totally discounts 7 years of my life where I've wished for a child.
  4. the CPAC form does not take the male-partner's age into account, only the female's. This is unfair and discriminatory. In our case it especially important as my husband and I have a significant age difference.
  5. How the Government did not accept the recommendations of the advisory panel, to set the CPAC threshold at 55 (which would mean we qualify) and instead set it at 65. Money. Always money. And since infertility in basically an invisible disease, there is no massive groundswell of support, say like for breast cancer, or diabetes.
  6. the way that the GP and then the OB/GYN both took our money and did loads of invasive tests, only to refer us to the fertility clinic at the very last minute, wasting valuable time. NZ patients are actually allowed to self-refer to fertility clinics. No one told us.
  7. The fertility clinic for insisting that I have an unnecessary operation, and the stupid OB/GYN for taking plenty of public health money to perform the operation.
  8. that there is no regulating body where I can take a complaint regarding the paperwork side of the fertility industry.
  9. the sheer injustice of the situation, how bloody unfair and illogical it is, how it's put my life on hold, how it invades my every waking moment :(
So Hubby and I have made a decision. We will make one last attempt with the letter-writing and shit. And then leave it. Because, honestly, no-one cares. I've been crying every night this week and it doesn't make anything better. I can write emails and letters to everyone until I'm blue in the face. But nothing is working. No one will help. Or no one can help. It's useless. But I will try one last time.

Please excuse my foul language. I am in a bad way.


  1. I'm so sorry they are being so unhelpful to you. I can't believe they just pass your case off from one place to another. I hope your last letter will get you somewhere.

  2. damnit, i'm angry for you. this is bloody ridiculous and you have every single right in the world to be crying and angry as hell. if i could come storm their doors with letters for you, i would.

  3. Wow. It's absurd that no one seems to look at you and you hubby as an individual case. You are lumped in with some many and your specific situation isn't considered at all! I'm so sorry that it's so difficult for you. Honestly, I don't agree with the 3 year weight in ANY situation. That's a long fricken' time! I am currently TTC and no matter what your situation is, how long you have been trying, or if you have other children, every month feels like an eternity. Best wishes to you, I hold out hope that you may find some help at last.

  4. Thanks everyone for your kind and honest thoughts. I really appreciate it :)

  5. I'm so, so, sorry. I've been hoping you guys would get the funding...I hope that the last letter gets you somewhere. They really SHOULD be looking at the couples individually...I wish I could give you big HUGS. I wish I knew about the system over there and that I had advice to give. All I can offer is a virtual ((HUG)).