HFEA renews calls for women to be offered three cycles of IVF

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The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) has renewed calls for NHS commissioners to offer three cycles of IVF to women under 40. 

The move comes in new commissioning guidance published by the HFEA for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to support them in implementing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on fertility treatment.

NICE guidelines states that women under 40 should be offered three full cycles of IVF treatment while women aged 40-42 should be offered one full cycle of IVF treatment if they have normal ovarian reserve for their age.

However, most CCGs do not adhere to the guidelines and the proportion of NHS-funded IVF treatment has fallen dramatically in some parts of the UK. Data from campaign group Fertility Fairness showed that in 2018, only 13% of CCG’s offered three full cycles of IVF treatment and 20% offered one full cycle.

Sally Cheshire CBE, chair of HFEA said: ‘NICE guidelines recommend that Clinical Commissioning Groups in England offer three full IVF cycles to women under 40 and one full cycle to women aged 40-42 without children, but the reality is that NHS funded IVF provision varies across the country.

‘We know how important adequate funding is to allow patients, with a recognised medical condition of infertility, to try to have their much longed-for families. This is why we have been working with the main professional groups to provide this commissioning guidance for CCGs and with NHS England to benchmark costs, so that the very small amount of public funding spent on fertility treatment is optimised and patients get a fair deal.’