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Variations in fertility care

6th September 2007

Wide variations in fertility care made available to women across England have been revealed in a Government survey.

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Of the 151 primary care trusts (PCTs) that responded to the Department of Health study, results show that rules on access to treatment vary, with different criteria on factors such as health and age.

Figures show that 98 trusts fund one cycle of IVF, 32 said they would fund up to two cycles and seven would fund three. Fourteen trusts either did not fund IVF or did not provide funding details.

For intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is injected into a woman’s egg, 90 PCTs fund one ICSI cycle, 29 up to two, and six up to three, while one trust said it would pay for as many as six ICSI attempts.

The statistics shows that 54 PCTs funded drugs to induce ovulation; 42 funded between four and six cycles of donor insemination per couple, while 14 would fund less than two. Seventy-eight PCTs either did not fund donor insemination or gave no details.

In the survey, 73 trusts said they imposed a weight limit on female patients while on age, 62 PCTs said they provided treatment to women aged 23-39 in line with recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), though a further 23 worked to different rules on age.

The Department of Health acknowledged the variations in IVF provision but said it was for PCTs to make their own decisions about which treatments to fund.

 

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