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Happy Friday From Béa!

Every week, our fertility experts offer practical, evidence-based suggestions for anyone planning a pregnancy. Our aim is to empower you with the education and expert advice you need for the smoothest possible conception experience. Our promise is to provide content that is always evidence-based and actionable, so that you can shape your journey at your own pace, from your own home.

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"It would be nice just to know even when to expect an appointment so we had a timeline." - Sophia
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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.

What to Do Next
Understanding Your Fertility Treatment Eligibility Timeline

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Start by checking your CCG coverage. If your CCG doesn’t cover the fertility care you might need, now could be a good time to start putting some funds aside for a rainy fertility day.

If your CCG doesn’t cover the care you expect, now is a great time to get involved in Fertility Network’s campaign for fair funding. Even if you don’t need it now, the fertility care your local council offers directly affects your family, community, and friends. Tell any friends or family who may be trying to conceive to check theirs too! (While you’re at it, why not also refer them to our newsletter?) 

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Unfortunately, very few CCGs cover treatment for LGBTQ+ families unless you have self-funded first (shoutout to North Kirklees CCG, who funds up to 6 cycles of donor insemination). If you’re an LGBTQ+ family exploring donor options or funded IUI and IVF cycles, see our guide to LGBTQ+ fertility.

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If you’re 35+, have been trying for close to a year, or have a known condition affecting your fertility
You should schedule an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. You may be eligible for fertility assessments already. Before you go, check out our guide to accessing treatment on the NHS.

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Further Reading
Here are the best links for your weekend sofa time.

Have a wonderful weekend. If you catch yourself thinking of us before next Friday, reply to this email and let us know what you thought of our newsletter this week.

See you next Friday!

Our newsletters are written by our fantastic medical team
Dr. Louise, MBChB
Sandy, Embryologist
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