IVF funding reinstated for patients in west Hertfordshire

Funding for IVF treatment has been reinstated in west Hertfordshire. Picture: Phil Mynott

Funding for IVF treatment has been reinstated in west Hertfordshire. Picture: Phil Mynott - Credit: Archant

IVF funding has been reinstated for patients in west Herts after being withdrawn to cut costs.

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) stopped funding the specialist fertility treatment in October 2017, and since then it has only been offered to women with ‘exceptional clinical need’.

However the CCG board, alongside another CCG in South Norfolk, has decided their financial position is strong enough to reinstate the service, at an estimated cost of £350,000 a year. From April 1, the start of the financial year, eligible patients will be entitled to one cycle of IVF, funded by the CCG.

While this allowance is in line with neighbouring CCGs, guidelines from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommend that up to three cycles are offered to women under 40.

Aileen Feeney, co-chair of Fertility Fairness and chief executive of patient charity Fertility Network, said: “Fertility Fairness welcomes these separate decisions from South Norfolk and Herts Valleys CCGs to reinstate funding for NHS IVF.

“The news offers a beacon of hope for the one in six couples in South Norfolk and Herts Valleys who need medical help in order to become parents.

“Fertility Fairness hopes it indicates a change in direction for NHS fertility funding; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is currently considering whether to remove its suspension of NHS fertility services, with a decision due on May 14th.”

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The CCG board reviewed the funding of IVF services in November last year, but were concerned by the financial impact of winter pressures and competing demands from other services. HVCCG chief executive Kathryn Magson said: “The consultation we undertook in 2017 gave us a clear view that many people are keen for us to make routine funding of IVF available on the NHS for people who meet our clinical criteria.”

Couples who were affected by the removal of funding, but who have not had privately funded treatment, will need to be assessed to see if they still meet the eligibility criteria.

Those who no longer meet the criteria will not be eligible for NHS IVF, however ‘clinically exceptional’ couples will be considered on an individual basis.