Lorraine Purdy and her husband Ian have been trying to conceive a baby since they got married in 2002. When it did not happen, they finally went to a doctor two years later, and were informed that there was a problem with Ian s sperm. They went back to the doctor in 2008, and this time, the couple was told that IVF could help them have a baby. The National Health Service, which provides universal healthcare coverage to all British citizens, apparently did not wish to provide IVF treatment to clinically obese women. Purdy was told that she could have IVF on the NHS, but only if she could lose a certain amount of weight. Her body mass index had to be at 30 for her to receive the fertility treatment that could help the couple have a baby.
It took Lorraine Purdy two years to lose five stone, and the couple is hoping to undergo IVF treatment soon now. If they had paid for it privately, IVF would cost them around 3,000 per cycle. After losing the amount of weight the NHS told her to, Purdy's treatments is now going to be fully covered. A fertility specialist from Derby, where the Purdys are from, explains the motivation behind the NHS refusal to provide IVF to obese women: "Big women don't do well. Obesity reduces the chances that a woman will conceive naturally and decreases the possibility that fertility treatment will be successful." Incidentally, the guidelines that determine the body mass index IVF candidates need to have to receive treatment on the National Health Service were created by Nice, the same agency that is hoping to make smoking breath tests compulsory for pregnant Brits.