IVF Funding Cuts – Saving Money at Infertility's Expense
In recent weeks both the Isle of Man and Warrington Primary Care Trust have announced cuts in their fund of infertility treatment.
The Isle of Man government has slashed its budget for infertility treatment by half, and infertile couples now have to meet much stricter criteria to even be considered for the one cycle of IVF that the Manx Government will pay for. This includes being in a stable relationship, non-smoking, not overweight, within certain age limits and infertile for at least three years.
In Warrington, the local primary care trust has announced that IVF will no longer be offered as a treatment option for infertile couples, although it will still offer other infertility treatment and advice.
Only those cases which had 'exceptional clinical need' would still be considered for IVF.
These decisions are disturbing for all infertile couples who fall under the care of the Isle of Man and Warrington. Once again we are seeing the 'postcode lottery' in action in Cheshire, and for the Isle of Man it means that only around 20 couples can be raised a year under the new reduced budget.
Unsurprisingly, professional bodies including the National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC) have reacted angrily to the budget cuts.
What we have seen at Manchester Fertility Services since these cuts were announced is an increase in the number of inquiries for treatment with us, from people living in the affected areas.
Having expected to have at least one free cycle of IVF on the NHS, they are now faced with having to fund it privately – and are now asking just how much money they're going to have to find to pay for treatment.
So is it now a case of only the rich being able to afford IVF if they live in Warrington? Or Isle of Man tenants putting all their hopes of pregnancy on their one, free IVF attempt?
One of the treatment options that has been of interest is our egg-sharing scheme. This is where women who wish to undergo IVF treatment with us can get a cycle of IVF at a much-reduced rate of 850 – usually it is from 3,440 – in return for donating some of their eggs, which are not being used in their own treatment.
It is designed to help both those women whose only hope of pregnancy is using a donor egg, and to give something in return to those willing to donate.