If you’re over the age of 39 then getting IVF treatment on the NHS hasn’t been possible because of strict age limits. But that may soon be about to change with the news that NICE has recommended that the age restriction be raised to 42 to give more older women the chance to be parents.
The new draft guidelines, which replace those made in 2004, will also give treatment eligibility to same-sex couples and allow people to seek treatment if they’ve been trying for a baby for two – rather than three – years. Help is also extended to those who are facing cancer treatment and people who carry infectious diseases.
So it seems that people who need help to get pregnant – for whatever reason – who were previously denied, are finally getting the assistance they need. But will it actually happen?
We all know that NICE’s current guidelines on IVF are being routinely ignored by many Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across England, who don’t follow these guidelines and implement their own, usually to save money. Couples who are eligible under existing guidelines simply don’t get the help they should in the so-called ‘Postcode Lottery’ – because it’s the PCTs who decide who gets what, regardless of what NICE says.
And so it is likely that this will continue to be the case. It’s fantastic news of course that NICE has recognised that IVF treatment can help would-be older mums to conceive, but even then there are criteria in place to secure your one free cycle of IVF. According to reports, women who would be eligible in this category will be a ‘minority’ – you must be aged between 40 to 42, have never tried IVF before and the treatment must be your only effective chance of having a baby.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to fit these new guidelines, and your PCT agrees to fund it, remember you don’t have to have your NHS-funded treatment where they dictate.
If you’re eligible for fertility treatment and your Primary Care Trust is prepared to fund it, then it is possible to apply for funding to be transferred to a private infertility clinic, such as Manchester Fertility, if you believe they may be more suitable for you than your local NHS provider.
Contact us on 0161 300 2730 for more information.