On Thursday, 5 March 2020, South West London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) agreed to standardise access to fertility services across six boroughs.
The CCGs met to agree a new single policy for assisted conception treatment and fertility preservation which increases access and equity to NHS-funded IVF and fertility preservation across the region.
The policy, which will come into force on 1 April 2020 when the organisations merge, means the new South West London CCG will consistently offer one cycle of IVF for women up to the age to 42, and no longer require both partners to be childless.
Dr Andrew Murray, Designate Chair of the new South West London CCG and a GP in Merton, said: “In bringing our CCGs together we’ve been able to develop a new policy which will help more women with fertility issues to have babies. It is important to us that we’re offering a fair and consistent service across all our six boroughs and our clinically-led approach has ensured we are better reflecting people’s needs.”
GPs and specialists across South West London came together to recommend the changes to the policy, which include:
- For Croydon – re-instatement of routine access to IVF
- Women aged up to the age of 42 would qualify for IVF across all boroughs, previously 39 for some of our boroughs
- Shortening the length of time women aged 36 years or over need to have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive before they quality for referral for fertility investigations, 6 months, rather than 12 months for younger women
- Couples where one partner has children from a previous relationship would qualify for NHS funded fertility treatment, whereas previously childlessness from both partners would be a requirement
- Fertility preservation including freezing eggs and sperm for those undergoing any treatment or condition which might cause infertility, where current policies only make routine provision for those undergoing treatment for cancer
- Frozen eggs or sperm would now be preserved for more than five years for younger people
The proposed policy also recommends that women need to meet certain hormone levels which clinical evidence shows increases the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair of NHS Croydon CCG, said:
“We are extremely pleased to be able to offer this service in Croydon again – we’re anticipating that we will be able to provide IVF for around 200 women in our borough alone over the next year.”