Lincolnshire IVF treatment ignoring national guidelines

Lincolnshire provides women with only one cycle of IVF treatment, ignoring NHS guidelines to offer three chances, according to a report by an all-party group of MPs.

The report shows that Lincolnshire provides couples with one cycle of the fertility treatment through the East Midlands Specialised Commissioning Group and for women aged between 23 and 39.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) say that couples should get three cycles of IVF treatment if women are aged between 29 and 39.

The report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Infertility called Holding Back the British IVF Revolution, which was made up of Freedom of Information requests to every PCT in March 2011.

Nationally the report shows that over 70% NHS trusts are ignoring the guidelines. Some of them are not offering IVF at all to others putting in tough restrictions as to who can qualify for the fertility treatment.

MPs are saying this has caused a ‘postcode lottery’ and are calling for the guidelines to be implemented properly.

Lincoln’s MP Karl McCartney, who is the Deputy Chairman of the APPG on Infertility, expressed his disappointment that Lincolnshire couples only get one cycle of treatment paid for them: “Whilst some couples can afford to pay for further courses of IVF themselves, many, unfortunately, cannot.

“An inability to conceive can place extraordinarily high levels of stress and anxiety on couples and their families.

“The difficulties that such couples face should be more widely recognised, as should the need to assure them of high quality investigation and follow-up provision in fertility services throughout the NHS.

“It is important that PCTs fully appreciate the extent to which infertility can lead to family breakdown and other negative consequences and to recognise IVF as a legitimate clinical need.”

Source: Holding Back the British IVF Revolution l Photo: Adrian Wiggins