Funding fertility treatment: it’s not just about money

NHS funding for fertility treatment has been described as a ‘postcode lottery’. The reality is, it doesn’t just depend on your postcode, but also on your BMI, your age and your reproductive history.

For example, in Hull, the CCG (that’s Clinical Commissioning Group) funds two fresh treatment cycles for women under 40, and a third in cases where a successful IFR (Independent Funding Request) is submitted to the CCG. Women between 40 and 42 are only offered one cycle. It’s a different story in the East Riding, where NHS funding is limited to one cycle for both age groups.

Sorry – there’s more. In order to be eligible for funding, the woman’s BMI must be within the range of 19 and 30 before she can be referred. Neither partner can have living children to be eligible.

Same-sex female couples have to self-fund 6 cycles of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) before they are eligible for a round of funded IVF (unless there’s a medical condition).

People tell me that in Hull we’re lucky to have such generous funding. But written down, this criteria doesn’t in any way reflect the impact it has on real people’s lives. Like the panic that sets in as that 40th birthday approaches. The gut-wrenching feeling when the doctors say your BMI is too high, and you’ll need to lose weight before you’re even allowed to be referred. And being told that you’re not eligible for funding because one of you has a child from a previous relationship, regardless of what relationship you have with that child.

Money is stressful; whether you’re taking out a loan, remortgaging the house, or delving into savings. But when you’re self-funding your fertility treatment you do it with so much hope and so little reassurance it’ll work, it’s really not a matter-of-fact conversation. So, if you’d like more information on funding, please call Hull IVF on 01482 382648. For emotional support, our groups run on the first Monday of every month 6.30-8, Lonsdale Community Centre, Hull.

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