Doctors at a leading UK fertility clinic have revealed they are seeing more and more couples moving counties to access IVF treatment
Dr Raj Mathur, who is a consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s Hospital, in Manchester, told The Guardian he ‘constantly saw patients moving house to get more free cycles of IVF’.
He said doing this was saving couples up to £10,000 a time and that he believed the geographical funding differences were a form of discrimination.
Dr Mathur’s clinic accepts NHS patients from 23 Clinical Commissioning Groups across the North West and has said that he could see a couple from Manchester who have been accepted for one IVF cycle, but his next appointment could be a couple from Rochdale, who have been accepted for three IVF cycles.
He said: “It’s a scandal because it should really be decided by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). They came up with national guidelines but everywhere in the country has its own criteria.”
Dr Mathur said some people move home constantly, registering with a new GP to gain more free fertility treatment.
The reason behind this is the number of CCGs that have reduced, restricted or stopped IVF treatment due to lack of funding, which has been dubbed the NHS IVF postcode lottery.
During the past year there has been outrage among fertility campaigners who have slammed the decision, which is having a devastating affect on couples facing fertility issues in the UK.
NICE recommends that women under the age of 40 should be offered three full IVF cycles on the NHS, something which CCGs have chosen to ignore when restricting access to treatment.
But there are only a handful of CCGs following those guidelines, with many in consultation to reduce the provision.
MPs have been debating the issue in the House of Commons, after fertility campaigners lobbied the Government to do more to make change.
Do you live in the North West and have you moved to access NHS IVF treatment? Get in touch, we would love to hear your story. Email us on email@example.com