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How Health and Social Care can Help Families with Specific Needs

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Health and social care in the UK are the source used to find help and support for our wellbeing. It relates to the healthcare provision infrastructure. Health care are a massive subject. However, it mainly focuses on the basics of our needs if hurt or unwell, agencies such as doctors, nurses and paramedics. Social care is more mental health and wellbeing, agencies such as councillors.

This essay will discuss how health and social care can help same sex relationships wanting to start a family. The essay will look at what’s available and where to find it.

There is only a short window of time every month to get pregnant, it when the female is ovulating. Normally this is two weeks before the next period. To get pregnant the females’ egg is fertilized with the male’s sperm, the egg is released for 24 hours before it starts to dissolve. Many websites suggest that you should go to see a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), which is a fertility specialist after six months of trying to get pregnant. Same sex relationships can also get pregnant; however, they will look into fertility treatments straight away. Looking at the main treatments and what is best for them, then going to a local fertility to gather advice from an RE. “Same sex relationships now make up 5.9% of all patients having treatment in the UK”, according to londonwomensclinic.com.

The website “hfea.gov.uk” includes various support and help on which treatment is available and best for the couple individually. There are multiple options available for same sex couples to start a family such as IUI, Surrogacy, Donor conception and IVF. The website conveys help and support options for treatments, weather it is advice on where to start, mid process of the treatment or after treatment.

IUI, also known as Donor insemination, is the “main treatment for female couples” according to hfea.gov.uk. which illustrates more female to go down this path first. Londonwomensclinic.com agrees with this statement as shown, ‘the usual first-line treatment is intrauterine insemination (IUI)”. Londonwomensclinic.com is one of the first lesbian fertility clinic website and practise in the UK. However, Dr Hemlata Thackare, consultant gynaecologist and Fertility specialist in Swansea and Cardiff, from the website londonwomensclinic.com states that lesbian couples using an egg and a sperm donor “has increased from 10% in 2005 to 32% in 2017”. Conveying that this particular treatment is becoming much more popular in female couples although IUI is still the main treatment for now. The reasoning behind IUI being the most popular treatments for female couples as it is straight forward. The procedure involves placing small volumes of better-quality sperm into the women’s uterus separating the lower quality sperm, with the use of a sperm donor states gayparentstrobe.com. The website also discusses help for females’ looking into IUI and where to start. It is guided for the couple to see a ‘primary care physician’ which is a professional who practices in medicine but can also talk about treatments and options relating to fertility. Another reason why women choose IUI first is because they do not have to use fertility drugs and the treatment is much more affordable than IVF according to hfea.gov.uk.

IVF is a method of conceiving a fetus when women are trying to get pregnant. The treatment is where the eggs are fertilized outside the body with sperm. IVF is offered by practitioners and agencies to those who cannot conceive naturally and for same sex relationships or a single parent.

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The difference between IUI and IVF is the expenses. “IUI is a quarter of the price of IUF” stated at hfea.gov.uk. IVF is much more expensive than IUI as there are fertility drugs involved with IVF and there is a bigger use of fertility clinics. However, when funding more for fertility treatment, IVF includes an egg being fertilized in a lab, which has more control over the procedure compared to IUI where there is a lot more waiting and the process is natural for the body. Starting IVF will include multiple visits with a doctor for examinations on whether IVF is suitable for the couple, meaning the treatment could take up to a year to happen. Hfea.gov.uk has sated the current percentages of women getting pregnant. Starting with under 35 years old: 29% and over 44 years old: 2%. From this information it is pointed that IVF has to happen under the age of thirty-five to get the best results.

Not just lesbians want to start a family. Male couples also have a high demand on fertility treatments. The IVF process for men includes an egg donor and a gestational carrier stated by gayparentstrobe.com, which illustrates that IVF for gay couples is a lot more complicated than lesbian couples and could be more time consuming.

As reported by hfea.gov.uk, Surrogacy is the most popular treatment for male couples. Surrogacy is where a female friend or volunteer carries a birth for the male couples. It is also mentioned in the website that Surrogacy is recommended when IVF fails. Surrogate.com talks about the laws of surrogacy in same sex relationships. Stated that both men need to be legally recognized as the parents to be on the birth certificate, may be done through an adoption plan. Gay surrogacy is a lot more complicated which instigates a counsellor to help discuss all effects on surrogacy, as sometimes one of the fathers are not biological according to gaystrobe.com. This could lead to many mental health issues in the relationship and individually when counsellors and doctors can help with certain situations.

There is a treatment that is used in both male and female relationships, Donor conception. Couples will use donated sperm or/and eggs to help conceive a fetus. Hfea.gov.uk recommends discussing donor conception with a professional before going along the route. This is because fertility clinics will have to on go tests on the donor for any illnesses or problems that can affect the baby in the long run. The website also states to use licensed fertility treatment from the UK rather than getting donated eggs and sperm from abroad as it is easier to find out any infections or disease’s or problems within the donor if they were from the UK. www.dcnetwork.org, disagrees with hfea.gov. The website states that there are “endless availability of donors in Spain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic” and there have been positive reports of receiving donors from abroad. The website also states that the first donor conception abroad was in 2005, and there has been frequent donor conception since. Although, the website mentions “there was far less information available about Spanish donor” which agrees with Hefa.gov.uk as the process is much harder to guarantee there is no medical issues when donating from abroad. From the information founded, it is stated that same sex relationships have plenty ways to start a family using fertility treatment.

According to the BBC News (https://www.bbc.co.uk), a lesbian couple states they are being discriminated as they cannot have fertility treatment for free within the NHS because of their sexuality in 2016. The couple stated they could not afford the treatment privately, so relied on the NHS after perusing the guidelines to be considered on the NHS waiting list. Which for lesbian couples is six attempts of artificial insemination (IUI) funded by themselves, before being referred to the NHS and put onto a waiting list, stated by NICE on metro.co.uk. The website also informs that certain locations only allow funded treatment within the NHS. The couple went to a GP in Belfast and they stated that it was “impossible to meet the criteria to use the fertility centre” in Belfast. Bionews.org.uk, same sex relationships are intitled to one free IVF cycle, however this was not allegeable for the couple on bbc.co.uk, the reasoning for this was because it was only available for heterosexuals. Bionews.co.uk also conveys Wales to be able to fund two fertility cycles for homosexuals, and Scotland being the most generous. Fertilitynetwork explains the funding in Wales which would be appropriate for same sex relationships to read. It explains the waiting lists, funding and what is best for the couple. It also relates to both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Bionews.org.uk explains how the NHS does not fund for Surrogacy, which pushes gay relationships out of the picture. From reading these websites it is gathered that the NHS will only pay for IVF or IUI on specific occasions, which is not fair for coupes who cannot use those treatments.

Many times, fertility treatment can fail, for both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. It can be a very emotional experience with many helpful solutions to help deal with it. Verywellfamily.com explains that couples who have recently been denied or have failed at a pregnancy with or without fertility treatment are recommended to seek support from a counselling professional. This can help to talk about any feelings or worries and then have opportunities for support on how to move forward. Sometimes some relationships go straight into a second option of fertility treatment, this can also benefit the couple as it’s moving forward for them together. Another method mentioned by verywellfamily is a support group, it can be a great way to talk to those who are also dealing with infertility. Friends and family can also help with more personal issues if afraid to seek for help from a professional. Even though they cannot understand the feelings of infertility, but they can offer support. Verywellfamily also states information about TNIA. The National Infertility Association is used to help those dealing with infertility. It’s a free campaign and maintains a network between couples who are dealing with the same issues. Penny Ross Fletcher (verywellfamily), is a marriage and family therapist specialising in infertility and adoption counselling, believes there should be an infertility support available for everyone as it can really help, Penny experienced a miscarriage and wanted to become a professional therapist to help meet other partners who experience similar or the same issue. Penny found a support group called RESOLVE and she explained it as a place she could go every week to communicate to others, Resolve is a group which anyone can attend who are dealing with problems getting pregnant. Midwives can also help those with infertility as they have been taught about it during training. Scientistdirect.com states that midwives know assessments and managements that can help women dealing with infertility issues. Midwives, practitioners, doctors etc can guide couples to support groups or councillors that they think are best for the couple’s situation.

To conclude, there are many options available for same sex relationships to start a family, and the websites/articles have been easily found and extremely helpful. It is easy to find what treatment is best suited for you, which is a massive impact on same sex relationships because the number of homosexuals is massively increasing. Society today have updated fertility treatment making it available for homosexuals. In my opinion the best source to use for help is the access to social media. However, when it comes to funding with the NHS, I believe is same sex relationships is being more thought about, although a lot needs to be done to fully satisfy these relationships. I disagree with homosexuals being turned away from free funding treatment as they are the same as heterosexuals, which I think the NHS needs to take in precaution of. There are multiple support options for those who are infertile or looking to start treatment. Such as, Midwives, support groups, practitioners, counsellors, family and friends. Which I believe is a great start with helping, the websites used seemed to be very knowledable and conveyed all the questions that have been answered and what people want to know/hear.

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How Health and Social Care can Help Families with Specific Needs. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-health-and-social-care-can-help-families-with-specific-needs/
“How Health and Social Care can Help Families with Specific Needs.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/how-health-and-social-care-can-help-families-with-specific-needs/
How Health and Social Care can Help Families with Specific Needs. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-health-and-social-care-can-help-families-with-specific-needs/> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2022].
How Health and Social Care can Help Families with Specific Needs [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-health-and-social-care-can-help-families-with-specific-needs/
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