Kate Brian, operations manager at Fertility Network, said: ‘We welcome the Government's Women's Health Strategy and the commitment to improving access to NHS-funded fertility treatment, although there remains considerable progress to be made before the ‘IVF postcode lottery’ is removed. We would have liked to have seen a clear strategy for ending the current geographical variations.
Kate Brian continued "The proposed changes to remove non-clinical barriers to access will make a huge difference to particular groups of patients: same-sex couples who will no longer have to face the financial burden of having to prove their infertility, and step-parents with fertility issues, who have until now been denied medical help in most areas of England because their partner has a child from a previous relationship. We have long campaigned for these changes and raised the issues in our submission to the Women's Health Strategy. We hope these changes will be implemented swiftly.
Fertility Network looks forward to seeing how the Government intends to tackle England’s ‘postcode lottery’ by improving transparency on the provision and availability of IVF. As the national charity, we already publish a breakdown of what the different clinical commissioning groups offer on our website, together with an annual audit and we will follow developments with interest.
For most women, the first step in their fertility journey is visiting their GP. Yet far too often women’s worries about their menstrual cycle and fertility are dismissed; we hope this new look at women’s health, including a focus on the education and training of doctors, will prove beneficial for women and their partners in the future.’