Daily Mail

The 8½stone woman ‘too slender to be given IVF’

- By Science Editor

A MINIMUM weight rule for women seeking IVF is facing criticism after one patient ended up on antidepres­sants.

Samantha Barrett, 29, is a size ten, weighing just over eight and a half stone (54.7kg).

At 5ft 7in, she has a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5, which is within the normal healthy range but below the target of 19 typically required to have fertility treatment on the NHS.

The teaching assistant from Downham Market in Norfolk spent more than a year desperatel­y trying to gain weight – drinking two high- calorie body-building protein shakes a day, eating huge bowls of porridge and snacking on nuts.

But she has been repeatedly turned down and is now taking antidepres­sants.

Evidence suggests that women with a BMI below 18.5 have lower odds of conceiving.

Mrs Barrett, who is believed to have endometrio­sis, which can affect fertiity, said: ‘It got to a point where, weighing myself all the time and tracking calories... I started not to cope.’

A spokesman for NHS Norfolk and Waveney said it was following guidance from health watchdog Nice.

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