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  1. ITV Report

Warnings over cuts to IVF treatment on NHS in some areas

  • Video report by ITV News Health & Social Affairs Correspondent Rebecca Barry

Plans to restrict women over the age of 35 receiving NHS funded IVF treatment has prompted warnings from one fertility charity.

Consultations have begun in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to bring in new restrictions for women aged between 30 and 35.

A total of 13 areas across England are cutting back or have stopped services and changed age criteria since the start of the year.

Fertility Network UK has branded the rules introduced by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as 'deliberate inequality'.

The criteria limits the amount of NHS-funded cycles women will receive dependant on their age - with many areas reducing the cycles from three to two.

These are the areas which have changed their policy on IVF treatment recently:

  • West Cheshire - treatment cycles cut from three to one
  • East Cheshire - treatment cycles cut from three to one
  • South Cheshire - treatment cycles cut from three to one
  • Vale Royal - treatment cycles cut from three to one
  • Swindon - treatment cycles cut from three to one
  • Croydon - treatment axed except for cases granted on 'exceptional grounds'
  • Wirral - treatment cycles cut from three to two
  • South Worcestershire - treatment cycles cut from two to one
  • Redditch and Bromsgrove - treatment cycles cut from two to one
  • Wyre Forest - treatment cycles cut from two to one
  • Redbridge - funding one embryo transfer instead of three for women aged 23 -39
  • Havering - funding one embryo transfer instead of three for women aged 23 -39
  • Barking and Dagenham - funding one embryo transfer instead of three for women aged 23 -39

The charity says this ignores government rules which outline the NHS should provide three full cycles of IVF treatment for women under 40 - who have failed to get pregnant after two years of trying.

A spokesperson for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs told the Guardian: "We know how hard it can be for couples who are struggling to conceive and will continue to offer fertility treatment to hundreds of people every year.

"Clinical evidence shows that treatment between the ages of 30-35 offers the highest possible chance of success."