I have been working with a Sheffield Hallam resident, who is unable to receive IVF treatment because her partner has a child from a previous relationship. We are currently campaigning to reform the rules around who is eligible for IVF.
Whilst CCGs have a legal duty to have regard to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines – which recommends that couples who have been unsuccessful in conceiving after two years are offered three full cycles of treatment for women under 40, and one cycle for women between 40 and 42 – there is still a huge variation in the criteria that is applied with regard to existing children.
According to Fertility Network UK’s 2017 Fertility Fairness Audit, 91 per cent of clinical commission groups do not allow couples to access NHS IVF if one of the couple has a child from a previous relationship.
In 2019 the Government said CCGs should make decisions about fertility treatment based on clinical infertility and not on relationship status. Despite this, a huge inequality in provision remains.
I have written to the Minister to ask her to include in the up and coming Women’s Health Strategy a commitment to update the NICE guidelines, so that CCGs are required to provide IVF treatment to those who meet the infertility requirements, regardless of their relationship status.
I have also written to our local CCG and spoken to the BBC about the campaign.