COUPLES who fail to conceive are being told they will not get help unless they “go and have another miscarriage”, according to campaigners.
At the moment only those who suffer three consecutive miscarriages are entitled to NHS treatment.
The Scottish Care and Information on Miscarriages (Scim) said that the diagnosis of women who miscarry should be given after their first loss – not wait until they have to endure two more before any attempt is made to search for medical complications.
But according to the pressure group the current medical system puts hopeful families through so much emotional turmoil that they feel they should stop trying for a child altogether.
Scim has now petitioned MSPs to radically overhaul the flawed health policy.
Maureen Sharkey, project co-ordinator and senior counsellor at Scim, said: “The women are left in a situation where they are absolutely devastated.
“They’re basically being told ‘Go and have another miscarriage and then we’ll look at it’”.
“Some women’s response to the current policy is not to try again due to the traumatic effect that miscarriage has had on them yet there’s absolutely no reason at all for that policy to be in place.”
Around 5,500 miscarriages occur in Scotland every year with most happening in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Bailie stands by Scim and said that more needs to be done to help couples who want to start their own family.
She said: “It is right to review all medical guidelines periodically and I hope that the Scottish Government takes this opportunity to consider this set of guidelines and submissions being made.”
But according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)the reason NHS treatment is withheld is due to conclusive clinical evidence.
Professor Alan Cameron said: “If you look at the data then the yield from investigating people with one or even two miscarriages would be miniscule.
“It wouldn’t pick up any pathology (any link to diseases) and would probably create greater anxiety.”
But Prof Cameron said that women older than 39 who have had two miscarriages could be investigated along with cases where the miscarriage happens within ten weeks.
He added: “It’s not an absolute that you have to have had three in a row before you get any testing.
“They’re not tablets of stone, but they’re certainly guidelines that most units would adhere to. There’s no way you could investigate every miscarriage in Scotland.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Every effort is made to ensure that women in this situation receive appropriate follow-up care.
“Clinicians follow national guidance from the RCOG on the investigation and treatment of couples with three or more first-trimester miscarriages, or one or more second trimester miscarriages (first 27 weeks).”