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Offer three IVF cycles now, Scottish Government told

30 March 2015
Appeared in BioNews 796

A charity has called for all NHS Boards in Scotland to move towards offering eligible patients three full cycles of IVF.

Infertility Network UK said that three full cycles of IVF gives patients the optimum chance of a live birth and that eligible patients should have the option of a third cycle, if the clinician feels it is viable.

Eligible couples in Scotland are currently offered up to two cycles of IVF where there is a reasonable expectation of a live birth. The provision of two cycles remained in place after the National Infertility Working Group, set up by the Scottish Government to review the provision of IVF by NHS Scotland, concluded in 2013 that IVF waiting times should first be brought down before moving to three cycles, which it supported.

Now that all NHS Boards in Scotland have reduced their waiting times for IVF to under one year, the charity said that it was a 'no brainer' that three cycles should be offered.

Susan Seenan, the charity's chief executive and co-chair of Fertility Fairness, told a Holyrood health committee: 'The group recommended three cycles and said that once the waiting times were down to below 12 months, at the latest early 2015, they would consider moving to three cycles.'

'It just doesn't seem to be happening as fast as we would like it to.'

Infertility Network Scotland, a regional branch of Infertility Network UK, said that a move towards the provision of three cycles appears to have so far been 'met with resistance'.

In a submission to the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee it states: 'As a patient, knowing that you have access to three cycles, which gives the optimum chance of succeeding with treatment, is extremely important.'

In England, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence last year emphasised the importance for NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to follow its fertility guideline and offer three cycles of IVF (reported in BioNews 754).

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Charity calls for three IVF cycles
The Extra |  24 March 2015
Give couples three shots at IVF, says charity
The Times (subscription) |  25 March 2015
Three IVF cycles a 'no-brainer', charity says
BBC News |  25 March 2015
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