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Letter: How fertility care has a bearing on UK prosperity



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As Valentina Romei reports, the continued drop in birth rates across England and Wales makes for concerning news for the UK’s economic outlook (Report, FT.com, August 17).

For children are vital to our economy. A peer-reviewed scientific paper has shown the economic value of a child born in the UK, over its lifetime, is over £700,000 through tax and pension contributions.

An ageing population, coupled with falling birth rates could therefore result in serious long-term economic consequences.

The UK is already mitigating a challenging economic backdrop, and with reports of a recession looming, action must be taken to prevent a fertility and birth crisis stunting economic growth in the future.

We must ensure that young people are educated about their fertility — specifically, the impact that age and lifestyle can have on their ability to conceive naturally — alongside offering working parents better career protection.

The NHS postcode lottery for IVF treatment must be also brought to an end, ensuring equal and fair access to IVF funding across the nation.

Helping to create children is not just about creating families, but also creating future tax and pension payers.

However, IVF funding should not fall solely at the feet of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The economic value of a child benefits a wide range of government departments, including the Department for Work and Pensions and the Treasury directly, as well as the Department for Women and Equalities.

By rethinking how we approach, budget for and fund IVF treatment, we will also be tackling a future birth rates crisis and supporting the UK’s economic future.

Professor Geeta Nargund Senior NHS Consultant Medical Director, CREATE Fertility London EC2, UK

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