The National Infertility Awareness Campaign warned that as NICE guidelines are not mandatory, fears still remained over local implementation.
By updating the fertility guideline and extending the range of people it is recommending receive treatment, NICE clearly understands the impact which infertility has on people.
And we must be clear that infertility is a medical condition that causes significant distress for those trying to have a baby and has a devastating impact on people's lives.
The current 'postcode lottery' approach to the treatment of infertility here has gone on for far too long and it is vital that the Government supports the measures in the updated guideline and communicates the need to implement them to those who commission fertility services in the NHS.
We know the current system leaves many people unable to access NHS treatment and we need reassurance about the future of NHS fertility treatment as we move towards GP commissioning in 2013.
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.
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
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.
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