When news about fertility funding seems to focus on cuts and dwindling services here in England, the Scottish government has to be applauded – and loudly – for moving in the opposite direction, announcing plans today to fund three full cycles of IVF treatment for eligible couples. What’s more, couples will be eligible for the first time if one of them has a child from a previous relationship. The changes will be introduced gradually, but it’s still wonderful news that the Scottish government is able to offer such positive support to those with fertility problems.
Infertility Network UK’s Chief Executive Susan Seenan, who is also Co-Chair of Fertility Fairness, commented on the news saying, ‘Scotland continues to lead the way in providing equitable fertility treatment. The Scottish government brought in equity of provision in 2013 and is now committing to delivering the full clinically recommended 3 IVF cycles (for eligible women aged 40 and under). In addition, it is relaxing current access criteria and will offer fertility treatment to couples where one partner has no biological child. This increase in access to medical treatment is fantastic news for people in Scotland affected by fertility problems and we commend the Scottish Government for both recognising the importance of treating this medical condition and backing it up with action.”
If you live anywhere near Edinburgh, Infertility Network Scotland are organising a fantastic fertility information day on April 5. There are speakers on a wide range of topics including
- Current Criteria for NHS Treatment
- Going to the Clinic what happens next
- What are my treatment options EEVA – the selfie that can help me get pregnant
- Male Factors – Diagnosis and treatment
- Stress and its impact on infertility
- Nutrition – Boost Fertility and Prevent Miscarriage
- The fertility rollercoaster
The day begins at 9.30 and ends at 4.30. Tickets are priced at just £5 and include tea and coffee and a buffet lunch. Do go along if you can get there – it promises to be a really interesting day – more details here
It’s fantastic news that in Scotland access to IVF treatment is to be standardised to put an end to the postcode lottery for fertility patients. With new investment, people who need help to conceive across the country will know exactly where they stand and what they can expect to receive. Although for the time being they will only be offered two cycles of treatment rather than the three cycles recommended by the NICE, the initiative also aims to reduce waiting times. Criteria used to assess eligibility will be standardised so the same rules will apply to everyone, no matter where they live.
Of course this move is to be applauded, but it’s high time that the rest of the UK followed suit. In England, there are huge regional variations in NHS-funded treatment which are unfair and quite wrong – in many cases, commissioners have seemed to make up the rules as they go along. It is completely crazy that access for treatment for a medical condition is determined entirely by where you live – and a situation that we can only hope will not be allowed to continue for much longer.