Hampshire NHS ‘must adopt IVF guidelines’ - MP

File photo dated 11/08/08 of embryos being placed onto a CryoLeaf ready for instant freezing using a vitrification process for IVF. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday January 26, 2012. Experts have uncovered further evidence that a chromosomal test can boost the chances of success with IVF. Chromosomal abnormalities can cause embryos to fail, even though they may look healthy under a microscope. Array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) enables scientists to analyse chromosomes and transfer only the healthiest embryos, increasing the chance of a successful pregnancy. Dozens of babies have now been born in the UK as a result of the technique, which was pioneered in the UK and is available at several clinics. See PA story HEALTH IVF. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
File photo dated 11/08/08 of embryos being placed onto a CryoLeaf ready for instant freezing using a vitrification process for IVF. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday January 26, 2012. Experts have uncovered further evidence that a chromosomal test can boost the chances of success with IVF. Chromosomal abnormalities can cause embryos to fail, even though they may look healthy under a microscope. Array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) enables scientists to analyse chromosomes and transfer only the healthiest embryos, increasing the chance of a successful pregnancy. Dozens of babies have now been born in the UK as a result of the technique, which was pioneered in the UK and is available at several clinics. See PA story HEALTH IVF. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
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PORTSMOUTH North MP Penny Mordaunt is calling on Hampshire’s NHS to bring in new rules which would allow older women to receive IVF.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is looking to increase the age limit for women receiving IVF treatment on the NHS from 39 to 42.

As part of the changes, same-sex couples, cancer patients, people with disabilities and diseases such as Hepatitis B or HIV may become eligible for free treatment.

The move is subject to a public consultation, which finishes next month.

But officials for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCT cluster (Ship) say they will only look into adopting the guidelines if it is agreed.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I would strongly urge the PCT cluster to look into taking this up.

‘A lot of people are thinking about getting married, buying a house and having children later in life now.’

Currently, guidelines issued by the national health body say couples, where the woman is aged 23 to 39, can have three cycles of IVF treatment for free.

But the local NHS body doesn’t follow the guidelines so couples living in the area are only allowed one cycle of free treatment, which costs £3,000.

And it is only free for women aged between 23 and 35.

It is not compulsory for local primary care trusts to adopt Nice guidelines because they serve as a guide only.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘By adopting this change the PCT cluster would also need to look into how it doesn’t meet Nice’s current guidelines.

‘There is no excuse for it being so deficient.

‘I commend Nice for updating its guidelines and it’s a clear indication that it is moving with the times.’

A spokeswoman for Ship cluster said: ‘If Nice does issue formal guidance in due course, which in itself would not be mandatory, we would consult with the clinical commissioning groups across Hampshire as to whether further review of existing commissioning policy is required.’

Deputy chief executive of NICE Dr Gill Leng said: ‘The aim of these new and updated recommendations is to ensure that everyone who has problems with fertility has access to the best levels of help.’