Growing Families conferences in London and Dublin, March 2020
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_93479

Smokers and obese people denied IVF by some NHS trusts

12 March 2012
Appeared in BioNews 648

Nine NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) have introduced restrictions to IVF treatment for patients who smoke or are overweight.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information act by Pulse, a magazine for GPs, indicate that 25 out of 91 PCTs have introduced new regulations related to smoking and weight since April 2011. In addition to IVF, there are also restrictions for patients wanting to undergo treatments such as hip and knee replacements and varicose veins.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said that some of the restrictions, particularly for IVF, were 'dreadful'. She said: 'It's becoming the deserving and the undeserving. I think it's discriminatory and I find it astonishing. The Government should determine what should be applied universally'.

In Cornwall and Devon, couples must have quit smoking for six months before they are allowed IVF treatment. In addition, women may only be eligible for certain fertility drugs if they have a body mass index (BMI) of between 19 and 29.9 - a BMI below 18 is considered underweight, and above 30 is considered obese.

Dr Virginia Pearson, chairman of the NHS Peninsula Health Technology Commissioning Group said to BBC Cornwall: 'There is sound evidence that being significantly over or underweight can reduce fertility. Smoking may reduce fertility in women, while for men, there is a link between smoking and poorer quality of sperm. Smoking is also a risk to the baby, smoking exposes the unborn baby to the toxins in tobacco smoke, and can damage the placenta'.

Arguing against the restrictions, Dr Andy Sant, vice-chair of Devon Local Medical Council and a Plymouth clinician, said: 'Everybody has their own individual circumstances and it may be that often a six-month ban on smoking is unreasonable'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
CCGs ration care for obese and smokers with new wave of restrictions
Pulse |  7 March 2012
IVF denied to smokers and overweight couples
BBC |  8 March 2012
Obese and smokers denied treatment 'to save money'
Telegraph |  7 March 2012
Patients denied care 'if they fail NHS fat and fags test'
Metro |  6 March 2012
'Too fat for NHS surgery', PCTs neglect care home residents, and could HRT protect against cancer?
Pulse |  7 March 2012
Too fat for surgery: Patients refused treatment unless they change their lifestyles
Daily Mail |  7 March 2012
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
3 September 2012 - by Cathy Holding 
Around one in three women who are entitled to receive IVF are being denied this right, according to a survey carried out by the National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC)...
28 May 2012 - by Dr Greg Ball 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a draft updated guideline on fertility that would see same-sex couples and women aged up to 42 eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS...
28 May 2012 - by Mark Johnson 
From next year, local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups will take on the commissioning responsibilities of Primary Care Trusts, with the latter due to be abolished in April 2013. This now includes responsibility for commissioning fertility services such as IVF treatment...
30 April 2012 - by Annabel Christie 
Following the investigation of abortion clinics, fertility clinics should now improve their procedures so that there are no unwanted surprises if they are similarly inspected...
19 March 2012 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Men who consume a diet rich in saturated fat - the type found in junk food - have lower sperm counts than men whose diets contain low levels of such fats, according to scientists...
20 February 2012 - by Victoria Kay 
The UK's fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has amassed cash reserves of around £3.4 million from charges to the clinics it licenses, prompting calls for the money to be given back to those seeking IVF treatment....
28 November 2011 - by Nicola Drury 
An increasing number of NHS clinics that provide assisted reproduction technologies (ART) are denying treatment to women who smoke or have a partner who smokes. But is it appropriate for any lifestyle factors to be used to deny state-funded treatment? And where should the line be drawn between medical 'advice' and 'restrictions'?...
26 September 2011 - by Victoria Kay 
Doctors in Canada will consider a policy to withhold IVF to obese women at a national meeting of fertility experts this week....
15 August 2011 - by Susan Seenan 
Thirty years after the birth of the first IVF baby, you would expect the country that pioneered the technique to lead the world in providing access to fertility treatment. At the very least, the UK would guarantee fair and equitable access for eligible patients. But you would be wrong. Patients across the country are still fighting to get the treatment they deserve...
11 July 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
An Australian man is seeking to overturn a ruling barring him and his partner from accessing IVF on the grounds of his previous conviction in 2003 for having sex with a 16-year-old student while he was employed as a teacher's aide....
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.