NHS Scotland to offer three cycles of IVF
Progress Educational Trust03 April 2017
New patients referred for infertility treatment by their doctors will now have access to three cycles of IVF on the NHS in Scotland.
'We want to make access to treatment on the NHS as fair as possible - giving more people the opportunity to conceive. Over the last five years we have invested around £24 million to reduce IVF waiting times and improve the outcomes for couples' said Aileen Campbell, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health.
Following two recommendations by the National Infertility Group last summer, Scottish Government Ministers decided to implement the change which is believed to be both cost- and clinically effective. By doing so, Scotland becomes the first part of the UK to fulfil National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on IVF availability.
Since 1 September 2016, people in Scotland who have children living with them but where one partner does not have a biological child can access IVF. As of 1 April 2017, women under 40 who have not previously undergone IVF treatment will qualify for three cycles. Women aged 40 to 42 may access one full IVF cycle, which includes implantation of fresh embryos and any resultant frozen embryos.
'We commend the Scottish Government both for recognising the importance of treating this medical condition, and for taking action to help the one-in-six couples affected by infertility,' said Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness and director of Progress Educational Trust.
The offer of three IVF cycles is in stark contrast to what is currently available to patients in most other parts of the UK. Many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England have reduced IVF provision and some have abolished funding entirely leading to accusations of a 'postcode lottery'.
'In Wales and Northern Ireland, while there is equity of provision in terms of the number of cycles offered and the access criteria around children from previous relationships, nobody with fertility problems can access three funded IVF cycles. In Wales, affected individuals are offered two funded cycles of fertility; in Northern Ireland, only one funded IVF cycle is offered', commented Sarah Norcross.
SOURCES & REFERENCES
Gold standard: Scotland the first country to provide 3 NHS-funded IVF cycles for all eligible couples
Fertility Network UK | 24 March 2017
Increasing access to IVF
Scottish Government (press release) | 24 March 2017
Infertile Scottish couples to get three chances of free IVF
The Scotsman | 24 March 2017
NHS funded IVF treatment: how Scotland compares to rest of UK
iNews | 24 March 2017
Scottish government to fund three IVF cycles on NHS
BBC News | 24 March 2017
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.