Anyone who has ever sought NHS-funded fertility treatment will tell you that it’s often down to where you live – not your fertility problem – that dictates whether you get IVF. Treatment for infertility varies widely across the country. In the present economic crisis, few Primary Care Trusts in England will offer the recommended three cycles of IVF on the NHS – others don’t offer any at all.
Last year, MP Grant Shapps said a ‘postcode IVF lottery’ operates, which not only depended on where you lived but also your age, relationships and any other children. The criteria to secure even one cycle of IVF varies widely depending on the rules of your local authority, and even then you may be joining a very long waiting list.
The fact that over 80% of Primary Care Trusts don’t offer the recommended three cycles of IVF shows that as budgets get more pressured, infertility treatment is often the first to be culled – despite the fact that an average one in six couples in the UK suffer from fertility problems. Many Primary Care Trusts have restrictions on whom to offer a single IVF attempt.
So if you’re about to apply for NHS-funded fertility treatment, be prepared. Make sure you know what criteria your local PCT applies for potential patients, and find out exactly what treatment you are entitled to, regardless of funding. You can find useful information at the Infertility Network, and also on Manchester Fertility’ website, including template letters to send to your PCT.
Even if you are lucky enough to secure IVF funding, you may not be able to go to the fertility clinic of your choice. Remember that you can apply for your funding to be transferred to a fee paying hospital and clinic, such as Manchester Fertility. Contact us on 0161 300 2730.