Fertility Treatment on the NHS to Be Expanded

By Jeremy Laurance Health Editor | The Independent (London, England), August 26, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Fertility Treatment on the NHS to Be Expanded


Jeremy Laurance Health Editor, The Independent (London, England)


A BIG expansion in IVF for infertile couples on the NHS is promised in new guidelines to be published today designed to end the "postcode lottery" for treatment.

Only one in five attempts at in vitro fertilisation is currently funded by the NHS but recommendations from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence will say that couples should be entitled to up to three cycles of treatment using fresh embryos on the NHS.

Treatment is recommended for women up to the age of 40 where the cause of their infertility is known and IVF is deemed appropriate, or where they have tried to conceive for at least three years without success. Excess embryos produced during treatment may be frozen and used in subsequent attempts, it will say.

The draft guidelines, which will be posted on the institute's website, are being published for consultation before final guidelines are issued next February. An earlier draft, circulated privately to interested parties, was leaked to the press last month.

The proposals are likely to increase the financial pressure on the NHS to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

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