Geographies of Fertility Treatment: A Study of Availability, Accessibility, Awareness and Experience in England and Ireland
This research is proposed at a time when people wishing to access fertility treatment are facing increasingly diverse and severe barriers. Access to free IVF-related treatment through the NHS in England is being significantly reduced, creating a postcode lottery for those who require treatment (Khan, 2017; Marsh, 2018). Furthermore, treatment in Ireland is not publicly funded and accessing treatments can prove costly for patients (Holland, 2018). Therefore, the number and severity of barriers confronted by people wishing to access these services has increased significantly. Alternatives to these treatments are available including Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) which still comes at a cost for patients in both countries. However, these services remain largely unknown to people and academic research concerning access remains scarce.
Factors affecting availability, accessibility, awareness and experiences of access for different forms of treatment in England and Ireland has received little research focus to date. It is important to comparatively examine the spatial, social, cultural, economic and political barriers which affect treatment access across different geographical scales and health systems in order to identify inequities and inform policy. This research will examine and compare the availability, accessibility and awareness of different forms of fertility treatment in England and Ireland and analyse how people experience accessing these services. Key objectives; examine, compare and contrast factors affecting inequities of availability and access in relation to different forms of fertility treatment services in England and Ireland, and analyse approaches to treatment provision and awareness in each country and examine how people experience accessing these services. Policy analysis, cartography, and interviews with fertility practitioners, research groups and patients will be conducted in order to address the research objectives and overarching aim.