Fertility: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to (a) support fertility treatment in the NHS and (b) ensure NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups deliver fertility treatments in line with NICE guidelines.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should have regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on the assessment and treatment of people with fertility problems when commissioning services for which they are responsible. This includes the recommendation in the guideline that three cycles of in-vitro fertilisation be offered to qualifying couples where the woman is under the age of 40 and one cycle where the woman is between the ages of 40 and 42.

The NICE guideline is evidence based best practice for clinicians but is not mandatory. The availability of National Health Service funded fertility treatment is and always has been a matter for local determination. Decisions on the level of service provision are underpinned by clinical insight and knowledge of local healthcare needs and priorities.

NHS England is currently undertaking a project to develop a benchmark price for NHS in-vitro fertilisation. This will help CCGs improve value for money in their commissioning. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority are finalising some good practice advice for CCGs about the commissioning of fertility services, which should help improve the quality of commissioning decisions.

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