Marta Jansa Perez, Director of Embryology at BPAS, said:
“We couldn’t agree more with HFEA Chair Sally Cheshire that any patient – regardless of their sexual orientation or relationship status – should be entitled to high-quality, evidence-based treatment. Sadly, our research has found that this is not the case. Our analysis of NHS policies in different areas found that 9 NHS CCGs in England make no provision for same-sex couples in their IVF access policies. Even when same-sex couples are included, they often have to self-fund multiple cycles of artificial insemination first, which cost over £1,000 per round. For single women, the picture is even more uncertain: 48% of NHS CCGs make no provision for single women in their policies, and some go even further, excluding women because they are not in a “stable relationship” – which may be defined by longevity, long-term cohabiting or being “financially interdependent”.
“In the 21st century there can be no justification for NHS policies that exclude patients on the basis of their relationship status or old-fashioned ideas of a stable relationship. The current IVF postcode lottery means some patients are excluded or required to overcome additional financial hurdles purely on the basis of where they live and who they love. These figures from the HFEA clearly demonstrate the growing demand for IVF among single women and same-sex couples, and we urgently need to see more standardisation across NHS CCGs, to ensure that everyone who needs fertility treatment can access care, regardless of their relationship status.”
Read the full BPAS Fertility report here: https://www.bpas.org/media/3369/bpas-fertility-ivf-postcode-lottery-report.pdf
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BPAS is a charity which sees almost 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. We support and advocate for reproductive choice.
BPAS intends to launch our own not-for-profit fertility service in Spring 2021, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We intend to only charge what it costs to provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service to patients who may be unable to access NHS funded care.