An MP has backed a campaign to help rid the UK of its current postcode lottery when it comes to accessing NHS fertility treatment
MP for County Durham Dehenna Davison became aware of the Fight for IVF campaign after being contacted by a couple who had been refused access to NHS IVF treatment by County Durham’s Clinical Commissioning Group.
Klara Halpin and her partner, Craig Longstaff were turned down on appeal for NHS fertility treatment as Craig already has children from a previous relationship.
Since the decision, the couple has raised nearly £4,000 to have private treatment after launching an online appeal for help.
Dehenna was so moved by their plight she decided to get involved and has spent a lot of time lobbying the government to change legislation, in particular talking to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Health minister Nadine Dorries during a Women’s Health strategy debate.
She told the Northern Echo: “I was really moved by Klara and Craig’s story – the efforts they have gone through to try and access IVF in the face of overly strict eligibility criteria are admirable.
“The fact that, in 2021, couples are denied access to IVF because one of them has a child from a previous relationship is unjust and does not recognise the often complex family dynamics of modern Britain.
“I recently held a meeting with a national campaign group Fight for IVF to discuss how I could help to the campaign, I will continue to work cross-party with other County Durham MPs to get the local CCG to change their outdated eligibility criteria.”
Klara said having fertility problems and IVF was horrible.
She said: “I might not be able to change anything for me but hopefully by speaking out and gathering support, in years to come things could change for other people.
“Fertility problems and IVF are a horrible, horrible thing to go through and very stressful, even without the added strain of getting funding. Access to treatment on the NHS needs to be as fair and supportive as possible.”
The County Durham CCG gave a statement to the Northern Echo about its IVF provision.
The statement said the CCG sympathised with the couple’s situation.
It said: “Under Section 3 of the NHS Act 2006, the CCG has to arrange for the provision of health services in order to meet the reasonable requirements for the whole population.
“To enable us to do this we annually publish a Value-Based Clinical Commissioning Policy which details the procedures the CCG does not routinely commission and those funded in specific clinical circumstances.
“With regards to IVF treatment, the policy states that this treatment for patients with existing children is not routinely commissioned.
“Should your GP feel you are exceptionally different from the general population with the same condition you can submit an Individual Funding Request.
“All GPs are familiar with this process and we would advise anyone in this situation to discuss this with their GP.”
Klara shares her IVF experiences on Instagram using the handle @spillingtheinfertilitea