Lincolnshire woman calls for change in funding limits for IVF treatment
A woman is calling for health bosses to fund more IVF treatment for couples in Lincolnshire.
Jodie Shucksmith, 26, from Digby, discovered she was infertile and underwent IVF treatment between December 2010 and March 2012.
One complete cycle of IVF treatment is funded by the East Midlands Specialised Commissioning Group on behalf of primary care trusts.
This is despite National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidelines recommending that up to three cycles of IVF should be funded.
Mrs Shucksmith's first cycle of treatment was cancelled prior to egg collection due to under stimulation and wasn't classed as complete.
The second attempt saw fertilisation occur – which meant a complete cycle – but the embryos were not strong enough to be used.
Now, Mrs Shucksmith will have to pay almost £6,000 if she wants to try again.
"Me and my husband had been trying for a baby for 18 months," she said.
"We discovered that my fallopian tubes were blocked and the only chance of having a child was IVF.
"I understand that the NHS could never afford to continually fund IVF until a baby is born but I do feel that there should be a more strict policy to run in line with the Nice guidelines of three attempts.
"Infertility isn't looked upon as an illness or disability, it's just one of those things – even though it's becoming more common.
"Infertility can lead to real illnesses such as depression, as this is one of the hardest things to have to go through.
"You resent pregnant women and women with children and your life becomes consumed by wanting a child and yet there is little or no help."
Minus drugs, it would cost £4,695 for a cycle including freezing any further embryos and then £1,060 for any frozen embryos to be transferred.
"This is a lot of money, easily half a deposit on a house," added Mrs Shucksmith.
"The only thing we can do now is try to save up, but it will be difficult."
Primary Care Trusts in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire fund three cycles of IVF but only one is funded across the whole of the East Midlands.
Jon Currington, acting head of strategy and planning for specialised commissioning in the East Midlands said the policy in place throughout the East Midlands to ensure fairness.
"This policy is applied consistently and does not depend on budgets at any particular time.
"The East Midlands' wide policy ensures that all people in our area who meet the clinical criteria have access to the same number of cycles, as well as a consistent standard of service.
"Whilst our commissioning decisions on IVF ensure equal access to IVF treatment, we also had to consider affordability and balance this with the needs of the other specialised services."