Fertility treatment boost for county

COUPLES seeking fertility treatment in Suffolk could receive a welcome boost from April, it has been revealed.Health bosses are looking into the possibility of funding the full cost of one cycle of fertility treatment for couples who meet certain criteria.

By Danielle Nuttall

COUPLES seeking fertility treatment in Suffolk could receive a welcome boost from April, it has been revealed.

Health bosses are looking into the possibility of funding the full cost of one cycle of fertility treatment for couples who meet certain criteria.

At present, those qualifying for fertility treatment in the county receive funding for the National Health Service aspect of the procedure for two cycles.


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This leaves couples' with the responsibility of paying for the embryology part of the treatment in a private clinic - believed to cost about £700 per cycle.

Under the new proposals being considered couples successful first time round will receive no bill for treatment, while those attempting a second cycle will not have to pay the £700 for the first cycle.

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Dr Amanda Jones, director of public health for Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust, said: “In Suffolk the NHS has for some time funded two cycles on a partially funded basis.

“All the costs of the NHS aspect of the treatment is met by the NHS but the specialist embryology, which is carried out at a private fertility clinic, the NHS makes a contribution to this with couples paying the majority of the private clinic costs.

“We are currently looking at this process along with Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to ensure we can start applying guidance by Nice (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) and the Secretary of State recently.

“This guidance suggests that from April 2005, couples meeting certain criteria should have one cycle fully NHS funded.”

Couples seeking fertility treatment privately pay about £4,000 for a single cycle of treatment.

Many experts consider one cycle of treatment inadequate.

Nice recommends three free cycles for couples who have a 10% chance of pregnancy.

One in seven couples face fertility problems and almost 5,000 patients receive IVF treatment on the NHS every year.

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