Fertility treatment policy review

Published: 18 July 2023

couple on sofa

The ICB is carrying out a review of its policy on specialist fertility treatment. 

All policies need review from time to time and this particular one was due for a review in 2022. An extension was agreed to September 2023 which is why we are now seeking some views from local people. Please have your say by midnight Sunday 13 August 2023.

https://hertsandwestessex.icb.nhs.uk/treatments-not-routlinely-funded-1/fertility-policy-review

The proposals outlined do not lead to significant changes to the current policy. They are mostly about making some things clearer and ironing out a few inconsistencies in terms of how the policy is put into practice.

We know that there are strong views about the policy in Hertfordshire and west Essex and beyond, and that is why we are running this engagement programme – to be transparent about what we are proposing and the limits of these current proposals.

A national women’s health strategy was published in August 2022. The strategy sets out nation-wide plans for achievements on various aspects of women’s health in the next ten years. The strategy includes the ambition to widen access to IVF in a number of specific ways. Crucially, the strategy calls for consistency in provision of services so that people are entitled to receive the same level of service (including number of cycles of IVF), wherever in England you live. The strategy also states that all non-clinical reasons for restricting access should be removed, and that single-sex female couples should have access to NHS-funded artificial insemination.

The strategy does not yet have a plan for how this will be implemented on a national scale, and at the same time we know that new NICE guidelines for IVF treatment are being considered and these are expected to be published in 2024. We will review our own policies again once any new national ones are confirmed, and we are committed to doing that within a year of their announcement. We will pass on any comments we receive as part of this engagement about the wider issues on access to treatment to those who are dealing with this centrally.