A PETITION asking the Scottish Government to make fertility treatment accessible regardless of vaccination status has gained more than 2600 signatures.
Nicola McGowan from Barrhead started the petition after she was made aware that fertility treatment has been deferred in Scotland for women who are not fully vaccinated.
Nicola, who is 25 weeks pregnant through IVF, said she was “gutted” when she found out about the decision.
The 35-year-old said: “I’ve had a bit of a struggle getting here as most people have going through IVF.
“I had 10 miscarriages previously and a couple of failed rounds of IVF.
“I’m not following updates as much as I would have done previously, but the minute I seen it I was just absolutely gutted.
“I was walking through my living room and I felt the baby kick, which I’ve been feeling for a while, and normally I would sit down and just enjoy it because it’s such a nice feeling, but that day I just felt awful because I thought he might not have been here, he was so close to not being here, how many people are not going to be able to feel this, how many people are not going to be able to experience this, all because they’re choosing not to get a voluntary vaccine.”
Nicola says the decision has made her “angry” as so many people may lose their chance to have a child and IVF is already a difficult experience.
She said: “If you want to ban me from a Sean Paul concert fine, I can live with that, that’s not going to directly affect my life.
“I might miss a night out on occasions but when it’s a medical procedure that could literally give me a child, I just don’t think it’s right that anybody has got the power to withhold that from someone.
“None of us has chosen to need fertility treatment, that’s not a choice, nobody would pick this, we would much rather just fall pregnant naturally and have a nice smooth pregnancy.
“This isn’t our choice – the vaccine is, and the vaccine should be.”
Since Nicola launched the petition last week, it has gained more than 2600 signatures and is growing every day.
She says the majority of people have been supportive and that she has even gained more negative comments for her non-profit organisation for miscarriage, NellyBoxes, which provides self-care boxes and support groups.
She said: “I think it becomes bigger than just fertility treatment, and I think people see it like that.
“People who maybe aren’t receiving that kind of stuff are then saying ‘woah, hold on a minute if this is what’s happening now, what else are they going to take away from us’ and I think it’s about the bigger picture, it’s not about being vaccinated or not being vaccinated, it’s about the fact that our choice has been taken away and that’s I think the thing that people are so angry about.”
Nicola added: “I’m pregnant, I’ve had my chance, and thankfully everything’s going well but I just want everyone else to be able to have that chance.
“I know how hard it was for me to get to this stage, seven years, a long long time, and I’m so grateful now, I just want it to be available to everyone else as well.”
The Glasgow Times previously reported that Chris and Claire McPartlin from Broomhouse have had their IVF treatment deferred as Claire is not yet fully vaccinated, despite having her second vaccine appointment booked for the end of January.
The couple has faced almost two years of delays already due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 vaccines are safe and strongly recommended in pregnancy to reduce the significant risks of Covid-19 to unvaccinated pregnant women and their babies.
“Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases, and concerns about the impact on unvaccinated women, Ministers have taken a decision to temporarily defer fertility treatment for women who are not fully vaccinated.
“We will continue to review the evidence, as well as the prevailing levels of Covid-19, during January and February to determine when treatment of unvaccinated women can recommence, or whether a further deferral is necessary.”
You can view Nicola’s petition HERE.