In the United Kingdom, the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group announced a change in its policy regarding MAP. Only one course of IVF therapy will be refunded by the NHS and cases in which one of the partners has a child from a previous or current relationship will no longer be considered. These new criteria will come into force in April. The group has stated that these measures are aimed at limiting waiting times for sterile couples.
This decision opposes the recommendations put forward by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and revised in 2013, which advocate three cycles of IVF treatment for eligible couples where the woman is under 40 years of age. These new recommendations are not restrictive but a clinic must “clearly” justify its decision not to follow them.
The Fertility Fairnessassociation, which demands fair access to MAP in the United Kingdom, has complained of regional disparity in terms of access. Since 2013, increasing numbers of clinics are choosing to reimburse only one IVF cycle, essentially in the south-west of the country.
Furthermore, a survey published in early February highlighted the fact that one-third of English General Practitioners believe that the NHS should not finance IVF sessions. One of the doctors interviewed commented as follows: “This is a highly complex issue but I do not consider infertility as a disease. (…) I am worried about seeing couples who believe that having a child is a right”.
Three-quarters of professionals interviewed called for a public debate on this question whereas the NHS must save £22 billion over the next five years.