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IVF treatment could be made available to over 40s in Worcestershire
FERTILITY treatment could be made available to women aged over 40 in Worcestershire for the first time.
New NHS guidelines published today say that women up to the age of 42 who are struggling to have a baby should be offered treatment.
The current upper age limit is 39 but the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now says that a single round of IVF treatment should be offered to women aged between 40-42.
Although the recommendations are considered “best practice”, NHS trusts are not bound to follow them.
NICE recommends that three cycles of IVF treatment should be offered to women under 40 but only two are currently offered in Worcestershire.
However Dr Stuart Bourne, Worcestershire’s assistant director of public health, told your Worcester News that policy will now be reviewed in light of the new guidelines.
“The Worcestershire Clinical Policy Collaboration group, on behalf of the South Worcestershire, Redditch and Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Groups is planning to undertake a formal review of their current commissioning policy in the light of the recently published update of the NICE clinical guidelines for fertility,” he said. “This review will take into account the recommendations acknowledging that, whilst these are not mandatory actions, they do provide the ‘best practice’ recommendations for the treatment of patients with fertility issues.”
Around one in every seven heterosexual couples in the UK who are trying for a baby experience problems conceiving a child and NHS Worcestershire provided 211 funding-assisted conception treatments for during 2011/12.
Each round of IVF treatment costs about £3,000.
Tim Child, consultant gynaecologist and director of the Oxford Fertility Unit, worked to develop the new guidelines for NICE and said recommending IVF for over 40s was “not a decision taken lightly”.
“When a woman reaches her mid-30s her fertility begins to decline, even more so from her late 30s,” he said. “However, many women do conceive naturally in the 40-42 year age group, but for those who can’t, and who have been diagnosed with the medical condition of infertility, then improvement in IVF success rates over the last decade mean that we are now able to offer cost effective treatment with a single IVF cycle.”
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