South London health commissioners to review IVF for single women

Health commissioners in South East London will carry out a review on denying IVF provision for single women

A shocking report compiled by the Sunday Times revealed that policies in the South East London Commissioning Alliance, which includes six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, excludes single women from accessing IVF on the grounds that they are ‘poorer’, ‘exert less control on their children’ and ‘place a greater burden on society in general’.

Many CCGs across the NHS have reduced or stopped IVF provision and are blatantly ignoring the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence(NICE) guidelines of offering three full cycles of IVF to women under the age of 40.

This has created an IVF postcode lottery and many communities are campaigning against the decision by the CCGs.

IVF babble recently featured and backed a campaign by a couple based in Oxfordshire to end the postcode lottery.

In recent years single women having IVF with donor sperm has soared to 35 percent, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

This could be down to women deciding to have children later in life who may not have found their Mr Right and wanted to go it alone using a sperm donor.

Figures released show that 1,272 women registered to have fertility treatment in 2016, compared to 942 in 2014.

A spokesman for NHS South East London Commissioning Alliance said the organisation will prioritise a ‘rapid review’ of its single women policy

He said: “Infertility is a condition that requires investigation, management and treatment in accordance with national guidance.  As part of the provision of prevention, treatment and care, south east London commissioners are committed to ensuring that access to NHS fertility services is provided fairly and consistently within the limited resources we have available.

“South East London CCGs follow the criteria for IVF treatment set out in the South East London Treatment Access Policy (TAP) and at present, routine funding of assisted conception for single women is not available. All women have access to routine gynaecology services for investigation and management of fertility problems. The treatment access policy only applies to assisted conception.

“We review and update the treatment access policy on a regular basis and we will prioritise a rapid review of the policy in relation to single women.

“All patients can request special consideration for a procedure or treatment which falls outside normal contracts and the treatment access policy through the south east London individual funding request process (IFR).  This means that if a single woman is facing exceptional circumstances, she can apply for IVF funding through her GP or the consultant looking after her. All GPs and consultants are aware of the IFR.”

Are you a single woman who has had fertility treatment with the use of a sperm donor? We’d love to hear your story, email

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