Fertility Network UK warns on proposed Welsh fertility policy changes

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The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) is proposing changes to fertility treatment policies in Wales which will ration access to NHS fertility treatment for heterosexual couples, make it harder for same-sex couples to access NHS treatment and exclude single women and men from accessing NHS help.

The proposed policies are still at the consultation stage, so please make your voices heard and let the WHSCC know how you feel about these suggested changes to NHS fertility treatment in Wales.

Under the proposed policies, some of which go against national guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:

  • Women under 40 will only be eligible for 2 partial IVF cycles rather than 2 full IVF cycles, and women aged 40-42 will NOT be eligible for any NHS treatment at all (previously they could access 1 full IVF cycle). A partial IVF cycle will include a fresh embryo transfer and a maximum of 5 frozen embryo transfers (previously all viable embryos were transferred as part of the full treatment cycle).
  • Same-sex couples will now have to prove their infertility by having 12 rather than 6 rounds of IUI.
  • Single women and men are NOT included in the proposed policy. Previously, they were eligible for NHS treatment after proving their infertility by having 6 IUI cycles.
  • The draft policy notes women or men who choose to self-fund fertility preservation (egg or sperm freezing) will NOT be able to access NHS-funded fertility treatment at a later date. 
  • Couples hoping to have NHS-funded pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders (PGT-M) will now only be able to access 2 partial IVF cycles (if the woman is under 40), rather than 2 full IVF cycles. Women aged between 40-42 will now be barred from accessing NHS PGT-M fertility treatment (previously they could have 1 funded IVF cycle).
  • Positive changes in the proposed policies include the BMI range for women has been widened from 19-30 to 18-35, and the lower age range for women in a relationship has been lowered to 20 from 18. 

The consultation is open until 27 February 2023.

Please respond to the consultation at https://whssc.nhs.wales/public-engagementconsultation/specialist-fertility-services/