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NHS-funded IVF reinstated in Cambridgeshire

NHS-funded IVF in Cambridgeshire will be reinstated in August for the first time since 2017.

Ovum Cold Color (in vitro fertilization). (48960471)
Ovum Cold Color (in vitro fertilization). (48960471)

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body (CCG) unanimously agreed the move yesterday (July 6). Cambridgeshire is currently one of only three CCGs in the country not to offer NHS-funded IVF.

Jan Thomas, accountable officer of the CCG, said: “We are pleased to have taken the decision to reinstate NHS-funded IVF in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough today.

“We hope that this decision is welcome news for all of those people who find themselves in need of this service, and those who advocated for its reinstatement.”

The CCG suspended funding for the treatment in 2017, arguing the decision was financially necessary owing to budget pressures. The decision was reviewed in 2019 but treatment was not reinstated.

The CCG says its financial position has not improved since the review, but the growing inequality of provision has “strengthened the argument to redress the inequality and reinstate provision of IVF services”.

The decision has been made to fund one cycle of IVF treatment with up to three implantations of embryos, giving people up to three chances of getting pregnant.

The lack of NHS-funded IVF in Cambridgeshire has been strongly criticised by residents and politicians.

In November, all seven of Cambridgeshire’s MPs wrote a letter to Ms Thomas calling for NHS-funded IVF to be reinstated in the county.

A report to the governing body estimated that around 170 patients a year would be treated under the policy, at an annual cost of around £900,000.

It also estimates there are around 445 “built-up” patients from the years the treatment was suspended who are likely to seek treatment at an additional cost of around £2.4million.

In vitro fertilisation is a technique that fertilises an egg outside of the body and returns it to the womb to grow. It was pioneered in Cambridge in 1978.

Dr Mike Macnamee, chief executive of the world’s first IVF clinic Bourn Hall in Bourn added: “All of us at Bourn Hall are delighted by the CCG’s decision and we look forward to welcoming NHS patients from Cambridgeshire back to our clinic.”

Read more:

What not to say to friends facing infertility

Cambridge IVF and Bourn Hall Clinic reopen to offer fertility services

How Bourn Hall Clinic, the world’s first IVF clinic, was launched 40 years ago

Cambridgeshire NHS bosses rules out funding IVF, causing heartbreak for those needing treatment

IVF funding review could end the ‘postcode lottery’

NHS-funded IVF in Cambridgeshire is cut

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