T his week, we confirmed that we would accept recommendations in the national infertility group’s report, to build on the improvements we have made to IVF access in recent years. That will see the number of IVF cycles offered on the NHS increase from two to three and also allow access for couples where one partner does not have a biological child.
I thank the First Minister for her answer and for the action that her Government is taking to ensure that IVF provision in Scotland is as fair and as generous as possible. When will those changes come into effect, ensuring that Scotland remains at the forefront on IVF action and rights across the UK?
We are working to ensure that Scotland remains at the forefront of IVF action and rights across the UK. That is in comparison with, for example, Northern Ireland, where eligible couples can access only one fresh and one frozen cycle of treatment; England, where the majority of patients can access only one cycle; and Wales, where couples can access only two cycles of treatment. The action that we are taking therefore puts us very much at the forefront.
Work is now beginning with health boards to develop a sustainable implementation plan that will include setting out final timescales for the introduction of each of the IVF criteria changes. I will make sure that the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport keeps Parliament informed of the implementation as it progresses.