"Unhelpful doctors in fertility clinic"

About: Leeds General Infirmary / General medicine

(as the patient),

My husband and I had been trying for a baby for 6 months with no success. Due to my age my GP referred me and my husband to the Reproductive Medicine department at Leeds General Infirmary.

I was already aware of the fact that I would not qualify for IVF unless I lost weight and I was happy to do so. The Doctor I saw first suggested I had a gastric band fitted which I declined, I explained that I wanted to lose the weight in a healthy and controlled manner by myself. I felt as if I was completely ignored and given leaflets regarding gastric band surgery.

Also because of my age the Doctor remarked in a manner I found to be very sarcastically “why have you left it this late?”

The doctor then said to me if you had done something about it sooner we could have helped.

We wanted to wait until we had enough money, a nice home and that I had recovered from previous depression before trying for a baby. This seemed to me to be the responsible decision.

At my next appointment with another Doctor I had lost 2 stone in less than 3 months, despite the last Doctor telling me I wouldn't be able to lose the weight without a gastric band.

We were sent for further fertility tests which were luckily all good and normal and we were told we should be able to have a child without help but to come back if nothing has happened when I'm closer to 40 as long as I had lost enough weight to qualify for IVF.

This was fine, I accepted that this treatment is not available to someone with a high BMI but when I simply asked was there anything the Doctor could suggest to help us get pregnant naturally I was told by them that they were sorry but they couldn't give me any further advice, they said they were not allowed to as it would be aiding and abetting someone who is an unsuitable parent.

My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief; I couldn't believe someone just said that to me. Ok I have a weight issue that I was working hard on, despite them telling me a gastric band was the only option.

I don't smoke or drink, I have been married for 14 years in a loving and stable marriage, I have a lovely home and we both have a good job. I think we are more than suitable parents.

When I left that room I burst into tears and my husband was so angry.

On top of all of this when we were waiting for test results nobody ever knew where they were or called us back, my GP had to chase up all of the tests because I think people weren't doing their jobs properly.

Since then I have managed to get pregnant without help, I called the reproductive medicine unit to let them know and the woman on the phone said to me you do know that a cyst on your ovaries can give a positive pregnancy result? I couldn't believe the secretary said that to me on the phone. I was shattered, I was so distressed and upset after being ecstatic about finding out I was pregnant. I went to see my GP because I was so worried and upset but he put my mind at ease and said to me he was disgusted that the receptionist had said that to me on the phone putting me under stress in early pregnancy.

I am disgusted with my treatment in Leeds. I am seriously considering paying for private care when I have my baby. I feel as if they have treated us badly. Infertility is stressful enough without feeling like you are being judged or people making sarcastic and nasty remarks when they know nothing about us.

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Response from Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Leeds PCT

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience on patient opinion.

I am really sorry to hear about the treatment and care you received at Leeds General Infirmary.

I shall pass your comments onto the Patient Relations Department at the hospital.

If you do wish to discuss this issue in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 0525 270.

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Response from Leeds PCT

Response from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust:

"The Matron was concerned to hear that you have had such a negative experience of the fertility unit and would like to talk to you about your visit. If you would like to contact her please ring the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust PALS team on 0113 206 7168".

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