'Fairer' fertility policy proposed for north-east London

Clinical lead for North East London CCG, Dr Anju Gupta

Clinical lead for North East London CCG, Dr Anju Gupta - Credit: North East London CCG

The NHS is consulting on planned changes to its fertility policy across north-east London, which it says will make access to IVF and other treatments "fairer".

North East London NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has unveiled its plans, which aims to ensure people in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets can have the same fertility treatment.

It said that there are currently five different fertility policies across its area, which also includes City of London and Waltham Forest.

The new proposals include the availability for three full IVF cycles for people aged 39 and under trying to get pregnant.

This represents an increase in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge, where the number of cycles was reduced to one in 2017 as part of a wave of cost-saving measures.

People aged 40, 41 and 42 trying to have a baby will now be able to have one full IVF cycle under the proposals, which is not available in those three boroughs now.

Dr Anju Gupta, clinical lead at NEL CCG, said: “Our proposed new policy is good news for people living in north east London who need help to try to have a baby now and in the future.

"It would make access to treatment fairer and closer to the latest national guidelines and best practice, while also recognising people’s different fertility situations and needs.

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“I’m excited that what we are proposing is likely to increase the amount of treatment you can have and improve access to some treatments."

An increase in the number of intrauterine insemination cycles is also planned for those eligible, while the length of time that eggs, sperm and embryos are stored is also set to go up.

The CCG is also proposing to fund the costs of donor sperm and eggs for people with conditions recommended by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and those using donor insemination who have fertility problems.

Dr Gupta said: "The aim of the new policy is not to reduce the treatments that we fund or who is eligible to have them.

“At the same time, we must make the best use of NHS money given the increasing needs of our population and competing demands for resources."

The consultation is open until August 22 and for more information about the plans and to respond, visit northeastlondonccg.nhs.uk/fertility.