07 August 2017
ByAppeared in BioNews 912
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester CCGs are asking for public feedback on the proposal to change their current policy, which says that women up to the age of 40 years can receive fertility treatment on the NHS provided they meet all other eligibility criteria.
In a statement for the CCGs, a spokesperson said that the proposals had been drafted on the basis that 'clinical evidence shows that treatment between the ages of 30-35 offers the highest possible chance of success.'
The CCGs also propose that the prospective father or female partner in the case of a same-sex couple should be younger than 52 years, and that neither partner should have any living children.
The changes are needed to save money to be able to 'live within [their] means', say the CCGs.
The current recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is that women under 40 years should be offered up to three cycles of IVF, if they have been trying to conceive for two years.
Elsewhere in the country, CCGs are proposing to cut NHS funding for IVF treatment altogether.
Budget pressures in East and North Hertfordshire, Herts Valley and the West Essex CCG regions have led to proposals to reduce or cut IVF funding completely, and the Southend CCG region is also reviewing its current policy on IVF with a view to making potentially drastic cuts.
Dr Mike Macnamee, chief executive officer of Bourn Hall, a fertility clinic that provides NHS-funded IVF treatment in the Hertfordshire regions, said that there has been no discussion with any CCG so far about how IVF could be delivered more effectively.
'A more integrated approach that would involve GPs and fertility specialists working more closely together would streamline the system, create better outcomes and be more cost-effective for the CCGs,' he said, adding that infertility is a medical condition that 'deserves better diagnosis' at an 'earlier stage'.
The Bristol-area consultation will run until 15 September 2017.