IVF abroad – best option if the NHS won’t pay?

IVF abroad – best option if the NHS won’t pay?

Having your IVF abroad isn’t just about better treatment and lower prices. It’s because the NHS won’t treat you. Across the country, patients are routinely being denied IVF treatment for spurious financial and medical reasons. The IVF postcode lottery puts local GP commissioning groups in charge. Often flouting NICE guidelines, most look for excuses to deny you treatment, particularly if you’re 40 or over.

88% of commissioning groups in England and Wales are ignoring NICE guidelines on state-funded fertility treatment. More and more are stopping IVF provision altogether. So couples have no choice but to go private or have their IVF abroad.

Many couples within the recommended age bracket are being refused treatment because they are overweight, smoke or have a child from a previous relationship. But, within limits, all three of those criteria are unfair. So is insisting you try for a baby naturally for one to two years before you qualify.

The WHO says infertility is a disease requiring treatment. Consider the NHS annual spend on obesity: £6 billion. Or smoking: £3.6 billion. In that context, it’s staggering to learn that NICE guidelines on IVF are being flouted by doctors. The social and financial benefits of successful fertility treatment are significant. Most couples battling infertility haven’t caused their problems. They should be helped.

The UK pioneered IVF treatment. Yet UK spending on fertility treatment is lower, per head, than most EU countries. Many cash-strapped couples can’t afford the exorbitant cost of private IVF treatment in the UK. Those costs are set to rise further after Brexit. So fertility patients go abroad.

It’s a market. Private IVF clinics in the UK will see their annual revenues double to £1 billion in the next five years. (Watch as US medical prices take hold here.) That’s doesn’t mean twice as many people will have fertility treatment. It means people will be asked to pay even more for it.

If the UK won’t treat infertile couples fairly and responsibly, going abroad for IVF may be their best, and only, option. Luckily, UK patients can still access IVF treatment in the EU, which understands treatment should be affordable and high-quality.

The UK is failing on fertility treatment. So, like us, we suggest you look elsewhere. We chose a wonderful clinic in the Czech Republic, and look what we have now.

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