Women who can’t have babies may only get one cycle of IVF as Fylde coast health bosses propose fresh cuts

Stock image
Stock image

Health bosses on the Fylde coast have revealed plans to half the number of IVF treatment cycles on the NHS.

Women under 40 who can’t have children naturally currently get two cycles of the assisted conception treatment – but changes proposed by commissioners may see it reduced to one.

Dr Tony Naughton says the changes should be made in an 'open, fair, and transparent way'

Dr Tony Naughton says the changes should be made in an 'open, fair, and transparent way'

However, the age limit will be increased to 42 – meaning some women in Fylde and Wyre will now be able to get treatment on the NHS. Those aged 40 to 42 in Blackpool already get one cycle.

Health chiefs say the proposal – now out to consultation – was introduced as part of work ‘by the NHS across Lancashire to standardise policies to ensure a consistent and fair approach’.

Costs vary, but one cycle of treatment at a private clinic can cost around £5,000.

The Gazette has previously revealed how women looking for breast reduction surgery in Blackpool may have to prove their BMI has been at 27.5 or below for two years before funding will be considered – so heavily overweight and obese people won’t qualify.

And last year, resort chiefs revealed plans to strictly enforce guidelines for procedures it classes as ‘low clinical value’ in a bid to save millions.

They include face or brow lifts, which will ‘not be performed to correct the natural process of aging’, hair transplants, and the provision of wigs – which will only be given to cancer or ‘trauma’ patients once every three years. Tummy tucks, removal of excess skin, and nose jobs will also be more heavily restricted.

Dr Tony Naughton, clinical chief officer for Fylde and Wyre CCG, inset, said: “We need to ensure this is done in an open, fair, and transparent way while also taking into account the limited resources we have.”

During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop.

It can be carried out using your eggs and your partner’s sperm, or eggs and sperm from donors.

Success rates depend on age and the cause of infertility, but they are generally higher for younger women.

In 2010, 32.2 per cent of woman under 35 had a baby after IVF treatment. That figure dropped to 1.9 per cent for women over 44, NHS figures showed.

To comment on the plans, click here if you live in Fylde and Wyre, or here if you live in Blackpool.