Topic of the Week
The Postcode Lottery for Fertility Care
Did you know access to NHS-funded fertility treatment is subject to a ‘postcode lottery’? Individual local areas set their own rules for what fertility care coverage they provide. Depending on where you live and factors like age, weight, and relationship status, you will be offered different types and amounts of treatments.
How do I find out what care I’ll be offered?
Clinical Commissioning Group’ or CCGs are the organisations that decide what care is provided in each local area. You can look up which CCG you fall in on the NHS website. Different CCGs offer different types and amounts of treatment. They also have their own criteria that you must meet in order to qualify for treatments paid for by the NHS.
What do CCGs typically offer?
Unfortunately there’s a big difference between each CCG in terms of the amount of care they provide and who is eligible for that care. For instance, some CCGs will only offer 1 cycle of the fertility treatment known as IVF (a fertility treatment) while others will offer up to 3 cycles
Around 10% of CCGs require the person getting pregnant to be under 35, while some will fund treatment for those up to 42. Some also require you to have been in a ‘stable’ relationship for 2 years or more, or won’t fund treatment where the person getting pregnant has a BMI (a measure of weight) greater than 30.
Why is it helpful to know what I’m eligible for?
Knowing what care you may be able to access on the NHS can help you plan for the future, especially when it comes to thinking about costs if you need to pay for your own care.
Once you’ve found out which CCG you are in you can look up their guideline on fertility on their website. You can usually do this by searching ‘fertility policy’ on their website. Or if you’re struggling, you can check out this database of CCG's from The Fertility Network. However, be aware policies change frequently.
Help, I’m still struggling to find what I’m eligible for!
Don’t worry! Unfortunately CCG policies can be a little tricky to find and even understand. You can ask your GP or just reply to this email and we’ll be happy to help you.