Recent UK news highlights the growing debate surrounding in-vitro fertilization and coverage under England's National Health Service (NHS). According to politicians, a growing number of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are inconsistent in their dealings with patients who seek IVF treatments, which conflict with provisions laid out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Under the NICE provisions made in 2004, NHS trusts are advised to treat women with up to three courses of IVF; however, a report given by British officials shows nearly 75 percent of women are being denied the given treatment cycle, a high number even being ruled out of the procedure altogether because of their age, weight, or other factors (source: BBC).
Despite the NICE guidelines, which state a woman should be considered for IVF treatments between the ages of 29 and 39, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) found that cut-off ages varied among several trusts, with some clinics setting their cut-off ages as early as 35 and others finding women too young for the treatment (source: BioNews).
The disparity among medical clinics' IVF protocols raise concerns about equal access for couples seeking IVF treatments in Britain. Although the NICE provisions are guidelines for PCTs, the recommendations are in place to ensure equal treatment for all patients, and in the case of IVF treatment, ensure clinics are not enforcing unreasonable restrictions in an already controversial area of medicine.