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Couples failed by IVF services

8th August 2007

Guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for IVF treatment are not being reached.

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A new survey carried out for the Department of Health found that many PCTs failed to provide the funding for the first round of IVF. Less than 50% offered the funding required to freeze spare embryos and a proportion of couples were not offered IVF.

NICE said in 2004 that couples should be given three cycles of IVF if a woman was between the ages of 23 and 39. The health secretary at the time, John Reid. said couples should have access to "at least one full cycle" of IVF by April 2005.

Infertility Network UK, who carried out the survey, discovered there were "enormous variations" in how PCTs made their decisions on who should receive treatment. They found 40% couples were not eligible if they had children with a previous partner.

The DoH has said it will examine IVF treatment in the UK to ascertain where the service needed to be improved.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said they would instigate solutions to help couples who wanted the treatment. The DoH is working with Infertility Network UK in order to improve NHS services.

Dawn Primarolo said: "We recognise that there are local variations in the provision of IVF."

"Primary responsibility for implementing NICE guidelines rest with the NHS at local level, but it is important that PCTs are fully aware of the needs of infertility patients when deciding their policies and setting their priorities."

 


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