If you’re trying to get funding for NHS infertility treatment in your local area it probably won’t come as a huge surprise to hear that when it comes to funding infertility treatment, the UK is one of the worst, coming third from bottom in a list of EU countries.
The study, presented at the annual conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Istanbul, analysed treatment policies across all EU countries from 2007 onwards. And it showed that the UK, along with Ireland and Russia, had the worst access to IVF treatment for those who need it publicly funded.
In Belgium, which had some of the highest ratings for funding infertility, there were almost 2,500 cycles of IVF per million people – compared to just 825 in the UK.
This report is one again evidence to show that across the country, too many Primary Care Trusts - who have control over what treatment they will and won’t fund on the NHS - are turning their backs on infertile couples.
New draft infertility treatment guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) are unlikely to make a difference, despite recommending important changes including access to treatment when you’ve been trying for a baby for two years instead of three, removing the lower age limit of 23 and increasing the upper age limit to 42 when IVF is the only option.
Why? Because PCT’s already ignore these guidelines. NICE say that PCTs should currently fund up to three cycles for eligible couples, but PCTs instead impose their own rules and restrictions because it’s up to them to decide what money gets spent where. And infertility treatment is often the first to be cut when cash is tight.
If you are struggling to get access to infertility treatment through your local NHS, there is help available.
Infertility Network has a wealth of information on its website www.infertilitynetworkuk.com to help you appeal for funding. And if you are lucky enough to get funding, even if it’s just for one cycle, you can ask that this funding is directed to a private provider, such as Manchester Fertility, if you wish to have a private clinic carry out your treatment. We will soon be publishing details of how you can do this.
You can also join our egg-sharing scheme. If you’re prepared to donate half of your eggs that aren’t being used for your own treatment, then you can receive a cycle of IVF with us for £870 inclusive of any drugs and screening needed. We have good success rates for our egg-sharers – our latest results show 68 per cent of our egg-sharers become pregnant from their subsidised cycle. You need to be aged 35 and under to join this programme, and there are medical criteria to fulfill. To find out more, you can click here.