Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 08:43
Single women routinely refused IVF treatment
Half of Dutch hospitals routinely refuse single women fertility treatment, despite the fact that former Health Minister AB Klink changed the guideline for clinics in 2010 to state clinics may not categorically deny single women and lesbian couples from IVF treatments or artificial insemination. This is according to a study done by monthly publication Opsij, the Volkskrant reports. The study found that 19 of the 39 surveyed hospitals do not welcome single women for fertility treatment, often for practical reasons such as that they do not have a sperm bank or that another nearby hospital has better facilities. A guideline for the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that doctors may refuse IVF treatment if they believe that it is in the best interest of the future child. This applies, for example, to prospective parents who were guilty of abuse in the past or are struggling with addiction. The guideline also states that being single is not a reason to deny fertility treatment, but the person should be individually tested. The moral argument that single parenthood would not be good for a child is not used by institutions, but often plays a roll in the background, Rien Crooij from the Medical Center Kinderwens told Opzij. "Some apparently find single parenthood not the right choice. In 2010 the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam showed single women the door, because of its Protestant background, which believes that a child should grow up with parents who have a stable relationship. This vision has since changed, but according to a spokesperson, women wishing to become single mothers are still referred to AMC in Amsterdam for practical reasons. "That has a sperm bank and the necessary psychological counseling." Radboud UMC in Nijmegen is another hospital that refuses single prospective parents. A spokesperson said that they are aware that this is not right for the times and that they are in discussions to remedy the situation. At UMC Utrecht, single people are welcomed, but they are screened prior to treatment. "We test the prospective mother for stability, both psycho-socially and economically", Frank Broekmans, chairman of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and connected to UMC Utrecht, said. About 20 percent of these single women do not pass the screening. "Usually women in a weak situation, who see getting a child as a solution to the difficulties they experience in life." At the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg single women who wish to undergo fertility treatment must pass a psychological test.