NICE, have published new recommendations for couples seeking IVF treatment through the NHS. They are intended to make it easier for couples to appy for funding. Theoretically this would mean not only quicker access to IVF, but it will also for the first time allow older women to apply.
Current guidelines state that couples have to try conceive naturally for at least 3 years, without success, before they can be referred for IVF on the NHS.

The new recommendation is that this period should be reduced to 2 years. Another new recommendation is that the upper age limit should rise from the current 39 years to 42 years, which means older women, who have previously been excluded, can apply for the first time.

This is obviously great news if you are one of the 1 in 7 couples who desperately want a child, but have been unsuccessful so far and who cannot afford private IVF treatment. There is a smal caveat though, women over the age of 40 will only be allowed to have one cycle of IVF and not 3, as will be the case for women under 40. For these women, if that cycle is unsuccessful, they will have no option but to seek private treatment, if they wish to continue.

All in all I feel this is a step in the right direction, as many more women have busy careers and would relish the opportunity to at least have the choice of delaying IVF until they are ready. The question however is whether these recommendations will actually be followed in the real world, especilally given the current financial woes in the NHS. Lets hope they do.

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