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IVF age limit should be raised

22nd May 2012

The National Institue for Health and Clinical Excellence has released draft guidelines which recommends that the age limit for IVF should be raised.

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NICE's draft guidance, which is an update to the recommendations released in 2004, said the current age limit of 39 should be increased to 42.

The new guidance also said gay couples and people undergoing treatment for cancer should be given IVF if they want it.

Other people who would be eligible would include people with infectious illnesses, couples who haven't been able to have a baby within two (instead of three) years and people with physical disabilities.

Experts said the draft guidelines would not alter the fact that many primary care trusts were unable to offer the treatment.

This means that in some areas of the UK, couples may be eligible for IVF treatment but a lack of funding means their PCT is unable to provide free treatment for them.

Professor Adam Balen, of the British Fertility Society, said: "Excuses for not complying with NICE guidelines generally state that infertility is not a life-threatening condition, but this is unjustified: infertility causes psychological harm for many of the one-in-six couples it affects, and is recognised as a medical condition by the World Health Organisation.

He added: "Furthermore, many treatments are simple, cheap and effective and even the most high-tech IVF therapies can be provided in a cost-effective manner through NHS clinics. No-one who stands a reasonable chance at conception should be denied the opportunity, and these NICE guidelines outline how that can be achieved." 

 

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