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Fertility: Medical Treatments

Health written question – answered on 3rd February 2011.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the availability of fertility treatment on the NHS; how many women over the age of 40-years-old received infertility treatment on the NHS in the most recent quarter for which figures are available; what assessment he has made of the effects of such provision on NHS budgets; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

No recent assessment has been made of the availability of fertility treatment on the national health service, and information about the number of women over the age of 40-years-old who have received NHS funded infertility treatment is not held centrally. It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to make commissioning decisions based on clinical evidence and discussions with local general practitioner commissioners, secondary care clinicians and providers, in order to meet their statutory responsibilities.

The NHS deputy chief executive, David Flory, wrote to PCT commissioners on 11 January 2011 to highlight that they should have regard to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fertility guidelines, when considering commissioning services, including the recommendation that up to three cycles of in vitro fertilisation are offered to eligible couples where the woman is aged between 23 and 39.

The Department also supports Infertility Network UK, the leading fertility patient organisation, to work in partnership with PCTs to encourage good practice in the provision of fertility services. This work is ongoing.

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