Women over the age of 34 will no longer be given NHS-funded IVF treatment in the Mansfield and Ashfield areas, health chiefs have revealed.
Prior to public consultations held by NHS Mansfield and Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Group, women struggling to become pregnant could get one free round of IVF treatment up to the age of 42. But following the end of the consultation period, the groups have now announced that now only women aged between 25 and 34 will be considered. Previously women as young as 18 could also apply for IVF treatment on the NHS This age range represents the best possible chance of a successful pregnancy with IVF, the CCGs said. They have also decided to introduce an upper age limit of 40 for men.
Dr Amanda Sullivan, chief officer for NHS Newark and Sherwood and Mansfield and Ashfield CCGs said: “We do recognise the impact that our decision will have on local people but we have to balance the needs of our whole population and ensure that there is enough money to maintain high quality and safe services.
“We will review the situation in one year. We realise that this is not an ideal situation and we will reconsider our decision as part of our detailed planning for 2018/19.”
The CCGs announced in August 2016 that they needed to reduce a funding shortfall of around £20m.
Funding of IVF in Newark and Sherwood and Mansfield and Ashfield is currently around £300,000 per year.
Avril Mackie, clinic director at Notts-based CARE Fertility, said: “We are pleased to hear that Mansfield & Ashfield/Newark & Sherwood CCG are continuing to support NHS funded fertility treatment.
“But the new criteria will deny access to many women over the age of 34 who need help to have a family - especially when the average age at which they have treatment is 36.
“Whilst we understand the budgetary pressures faced by the NHS, this announcement will inevitably cause distress.”