The NHS has been told to increase the amount of IVF treatment offered to infertile couples
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidance on IVF treatment, saying that couples who have not conceived after a year of trying should be given three full cycles of treatment on the NHS.
Current guidelines state that women under 40 who are struggling to get pregnant should be offered three courses of IVF on the NHS and women aged between 40 and 42 should be offered one.
But Infertility Network UK says three quarters of NHS trusts aren’t offering this amount of IVF – possibly because of the expense. A round of IVF costs around £3,500 and three cycles comes in at £10,500. You can find out about more about the costs here.
Couples who have not conceived after a year of trying should be given three full cycles of treatment on the NHS
Instead, just one or two cycles are being offered and there are other restrictions in place such as not treating smokers and those with step children.
In addition to making sure the right number of IVF cycles is offered, NICE’s new guidance ensures trusts provide free fertility treatment for patients about to undergo cancer treatment that may leave them infertile.
‘Infertility is a recognised medical condition that can affect people of any age and has a potentially devastating effect on people’s lives,’ says Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE. ‘It can cause significant distress, depression and can possibly lead to the breakdown of relationships.
‘Unfortunately, we know that not all areas are following our guidance. This creates variations in treatment within the NHS, which is disappointing and goes against the fundamental aims of the NHS.’
If you’re thinking about opting for a cycle of IVF, find out what it really feels like from the women who’ve been there and the support available.
If you have or are going through the IVF process, did you get all the cycles you’re entitled to? Let us know in the comments below.