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Older women desperate to have a family are being given new hope they'll receive fertility treatment funded by the NHS. New national guidelines will raise the recommended cut off age from 39 to 42. Christine Alsford reports.
Chief Executive of NICE, Sir Andrew Dillon, says including same-sex couples in the IVF guidelines for the first time "reflects the right thing to do".
The National Infertility Awareness Campaign warned that as NICE guidelines are not mandatory, fears still remained over local implementation.
Dr Clare Searle, who works as a GP says the guidelines from NICE are not about addressing social change, but about taking advantage of clinical effectiveness.
More couples struggling to conceive are to get IVF under new guidelines finalised today.
The age at which women can have treatment on the NHS will be raised from the current age limit of 39 to 42.
Mandy Parry spent £60,000 to have her daughter Violet, after seven cycles of IVF.
She told Daybreak that the experience of infertility is "so devastating", women needed all the help they can get.
The health watchdog NICE says women between the ages of 40 and 42 should be offered IVF on the NHS in England and Wales if they are having fertility problems. Previously, NICE did not recommend IVF for women older than 39.
NICE says is has been able to change its guidance because of a number of key medical advances.
The guidance does not apply to Northern Ireland or Scotland.
Today's new fertility treatment guidelines should make three IVF cycles available to couples unable to conceive as standard, across the NHS, thus ending the so-called 'postcode lottery'.
Professor Tim Child from the Oxford Fertility Centre said the new recommendations, if implemented properly by NHS providers, will improve access to treatment and make it more fair.
The guidelines from NICE also recommend the following:
- IVF treatment for eligible women who have been unable to conceive after two years of regular intercourse - one year earlier than previously recommended
- Women who have been having artificial insemination, which can include same-sex couples
- Women aged 40-42 who have not conceived after two years of regular unprotected intercourse or 12 cycles of artificial insemination should be offered one full cycle of IVF, if they have never previously had IVF treatment
- Where women are under 40, and have not conceived after two years of regular intercourse or 12 cycles of artificial insemination, three cycles of IVF should be offered
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The guidelines by the government's health advisory board, NICE, mean more couples are eligible for treatment.
Today's fertility treatment guidelines offer hope to couples unable to conceive, but they need to be properly implemented, across the NHS.