The current postcode lottery across the UK is a subject very high on the news agenda at the moment
So, IVF babble thought it might be good to have a look at other countries across the world and how IVF is funded.
Kate Boundy looked at five countries to give a flavour of how other nations help their citizens in need of fertility support…
NHS funding for fertility treatment is dwindling at an alarming rate, with only a few patients having access to the full recommended National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence(NICE) three IVF cycles, as they do in Scotland.
Many patients living in England have access to just one NHS cycle but there are several regions that offer none, leaving them bereft and wondering how they will fund treatment.
Couples are being forced to look to the private sector, or further afield for help. The average cost of a cycle of IVF treatment in the UK is around £5,000 although this will often not include any additional tests or medication needed and this cost can rise significantly, depending on where in the UK you decide to have treatment. There have been calls for clinics to charge the same price so that there is less disparity when it comes to funding IVF.
There is hope that Clinical Commissioning Groups will reverse their decisions following pressure from the UK government’s department of health to adhere to the NICE guidelines.
Fertility treatment in the USA is funded through an individual’s work insurance. Although, depending on the state in which you live, will depend on how many cycles of fertility treatment your insurance will fund.
According to an article by Milana Bochkur Dratver, published by Yale Scientific in 2017, only five states in America have health insurance policies that cover IVF treatment with very specific guidelines. Individual state governments set the criteria, for access to and funding of, IVF treatment leaving a large disparity in the range of treatment residence of different states have access to.
There are several fertility insurance campaigns ongoing at the moment, in particular by Real Housewives of Orange County alumni, Gretchen Rossi, who is calling for every US resident to have access to IVF or fertility treatment through their health insurance plan.
Many residents do have cover for parts of IVF treatment but not a full entitlement and this something Gretchen, who went through her own IVF battle to have her daughter, is fighting for on US residents behalf.
She has also joined forces to help promote the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act, which is a joint bill by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Cory Brooker and is supported by many US organisations, including RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association.
If given the green light, it will mean all couples and individuals who currently don’t have insurance cover through their employers will gain entitlement.
It is mandatory for all Israeli citizens to be part of a medical insurance plan and Israel’s level of funded IVF cycles is second to none. Again, according to Milana’s article in Yale Scientific, where she quotes the updated government changes as, of 2014, a woman over 42 is currently allowed a maximum of three consecutive IVF treatments, ‘in which they did not reach the embryo returning stage, if embryos are returned even in the third cycle, the count starts again’.
According to an article published in Israeli News in 2016, IVF in Israel is covered by its health insurance system until a woman reaches 45, and it is completely free for up to two births.
While egg freezing is not covered by public health insurance, patients also have the option of purchasing additional health insurance to cover any further tests or treatment needed.
There is limited government funding available for Spanish residents and on average a waiting list can be anything between six months to two years on average, with different regions having specific criteria that residents must meet in order to be eligible.
According to an article published in El Pais there are certain requirements you need to meet in order to access publicly funded treatment. Some of these include:
You must be 40 years old or under if you are a woman and 55 years old if you are a man.
Medically identified problems with being able to conceive must exist.
No treatment is offered to couples who already have children together except in the case of any existing children having chronic health issues or if only one partner has children.
The number of cycles can vary for each region but on average a maximum of 3 IVF attempts and 4 attempts of IUI are allowed which then rises to 6 if donor sperm is used.
Serious illness such as HIV or Hepatitis C can prevent access to publicly funded treatment although this can vary from region to region.
For residents who require fertility treatment, some patients who fall within a certain set of criteria will be entitled to a rebate, on a portion of their treatment costs through their Medicare health care plans. The health plans are part of the government’s Medicare benefits scheme. Although there are no fully funded cycles available in Australia, they can also have access to the private sector. The amount of treatment costs that is covered will also depend on an individual’s level of private health insurance cover.
We’d love to hear what your country offers when it comes to fertility treatment. Get in touch by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org