IVF should be given to older women20th February 2013
New NHS guidelines say older women should gain access to IVF treatment.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) also wants to see couples who are having difficulty having a baby getting fertility treatment more quickly.
NICE said IVF should be offered after two years of failed attempts, rather than the current three, with the upper age limit rising from 39 to 42 in England and Wales.
NHS trusts have struggled in recent years to meet the IVF recommendations with data from 2011 showing that only a quarter were able to offer the full three cycles with each round costing £3,000.
NICE has said that women aged between 40 and 42 should be offered one cycle of IVF as long as it is their first time and they have enough eggs. The age limit for NHS-funded fertility treatment is 38 in Scotland and 39 in Northern Ireland.
Director of the Oxford Fertility Unit, Tim Child, who had a role in drawing up the new guidelines, said: “Many women do conceive naturally in the 40 to 42 year age group. But for those who can’t, and who have been diagnosed with the medical condition of infertility, then improvement in IVF success rates over the last decade mean that we are now able to offer cost-effective treatment with a single IVF cycle.”
However, the British Fertility Society said it was concerned that the funding was still not in place to achieve the aim of the new guidelines, which have been welcomed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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