Mr Tony Rutherford, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, said:

“The British Fertility Society welcomes the publication of the report “Holding back the British IVF revolution?” by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility.  The findings, that the majority of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) do not provide eligible patients with three cycles of IVF treatment and often implement their own criteria for eligibility with no evidence-base, unfortunately come as no surprise and bear witness to lack of funding and prominence that infertility is given by our healthcare system.

“Infertility is a devastating condition which affects one in six couples in the UK.  The World Health Organisation recognises infertility as a physical illness that requires treatment; however, it can also cause significant emotional and psychological harm to patients.  By not being given fair access to fertility treatment on the NHS, patients are effectively being denied the opportunity to start a family of their own.

“Although initially introduced in 2004, PCTs have consistently failed to fulfil the evidence-based guidelines on infertility treatment set out by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).  This is unacceptable in a modern healthcare system and we owe it to patients to provide them with fair access to evidence-based treatment.  This report provides further clear evidence that funding for infertility treatment should be taken over by the National Commissioning Board.”

Notes for editors

This statement is in response to the publication of “Holding back the British IVF revolution?” by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility.  More information on the consultation can be found at http://www.garethjohnsonmp.co.uk/ (from Tuesday 7 June onwards).

The guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence on the treatment of infertility can be found athttp://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG11.
It states that “Couples in which the woman is aged 23–39 years at the time of treatment and who have an identified cause for their fertility problems… or who have infertility of at least 3 years’ duration should be offered up to three stimulated cycles of in vitro fertilisation treatment.”