NHS can raise IVF age to 42

New guidelines recommend that the NHS should raise the age limit for offering fertility treatment to women in couples unable to conceive, from 39 to 42.

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'Too many people' still denied infertility treatment

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.

– Clare Lewis-Jones, Chairwoman of National Infertility Awareness Campaign


  1. National

Women over 40 'should get IVF on the NHS'

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.

Embryos being placed onto a CryoLeaf ready for instant freezing Credit: Press Association

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.

  1. National

Access to IVF treatment currently 'very unfair'

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.

  1. National

New IVF guidelines to include same-sex couples

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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