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Dorset couple affected by IVF rule change

7 February 2011
Appeared in BioNews 594

A couple from Dorset expecting to receive two cycles of IVF on the NHS has spoke out against the trust after being told they could have access to only one.

Natalie and Stuart Cranston were referred to the fertility service at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 2007. After an alleged misdiagnosis, the couple transferred to the Dorset County Hospital but on learning of an 18-week waiting list, they sought private IVF treatment. However, following a successful procedure Mrs Cranston later miscarried.

NHS Bournemouth and Poole had advised the couple they could receive up to two cycles of IVF on the NHS before Mrs Cranston reached 39 years of age. However, a recent change in policy means women must now be referred before the age of 35, with treatment complete before they turn 37. The couple has now been told that they will receive just one cycle on the NHS.

Mrs Cranston, who is 38 years old, said: 'It's incredibly unfair that couples who have been in the system for a long time waiting for their IVF to start are being let down. I understand that funding is an issue and tough decisions have to be made, but they should not be applied to couples who are already on the waiting list'.

Commenting on the news, Mr Cranston said: 'We desperately want a child, we've been told our chances of having a baby through IVF are high and we've endured a slow medical system only to be let down when we reach the final hurdle'.

NICE guidelines recommend that women between the ages of 23 and 39 should be offered up to three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS.

NHS Bournemouth and Poole claims its change in policy will provide: 'more opportunity for positive outcomes for couples and to ensure there is effective targeting of resources'. A spokeswoman for the trust said: 'We recognise that the updated policy will affect some couples and have implemented transition arrangements to help with this depending on their individual circumstances'.

'We understand that this is an emotive subject and have worked closely with couples as well as making the policy information available through the local hospitals and GPs to provide guidance', it said.

NHS Bournemouth and Poole
|  4 February 2011
NHS 'red tape' halves couples IVF chance
Bournemouth Echo |  29 January 2011
The NICE fertility guideline
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellance (NICE) |  2004
31 October 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman 
An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that a fifth of PCTs are offering single women IVF on the NHS...
23 May 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
UK military personnel who have sustained injuries affecting their fertility will receive three free cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS. This forms part of the Military Covenant, which is soon to be brought into law...
17 January 2011 - by Chris Chatterton 
Over the last few months BioNews has covered the developing story that a number of PCTs across England have suspended their fertility services, citing financial constraints as a prominent factor....
20 December 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
West Sussex NHS trust is the latest NHS trust to suspend funding of fertility treatment as managers try to cut spending by 50 million. Now patients across the county face months of delays for treatment...
13 December 2010 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
NHS Medway in Kent, South East England, has joined several other trusts in suspending funding for new referrals for IVF treatment until the new financial year when the decision will be reviewed....
13 December 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
UK health minister Andrew Lansley has expressed concern over the temporary suspension of IVF treatment by several NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across the country due to financial strain....
8 November 2010 - by Ken Hanscombe 
NHS West Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT) has suspended IVF treatments considered non-urgent until April 2011. The measure is aimed at avoiding a projected overspend of approximately £40m on the PCT's budget of £1.013 billion, within the first six months of the coming year...
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