The NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed to fund one cycle of IVF, having at one time been the only CCG not to offer the treatment at all after funding was suspended in 2010.
The decision to fund one cycle of IVF will take effect immediately and is subject to a number of criteria. The intended mother must be 23 to 39 years old, have a BMI of 19 to 29 and be in a stable cohabiting relationship for at least two years. Both partners must be non-smokers and must have no existing children from the current or any previous relationship, including by adoption.
Dr Emma Broughton, the Vale of York CCG's clinical lead for women's health, said: 'I am delighted that the Governing Body has formally agreed the criteria and changed the CCG's commissioning position.'
Plans to fund IVF in the Vale of York were agreed in principle in June (reported in BioNews 757), but the plans were shelved the following August (reported in BioNews 766). At the time the CCG said it would consider to its position again later in the financial year.
Susan Seenan, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, welcomed the news. She told the Yorkshire Post: 'It's way past time they did fund treatment for patients in the York area because for far too long they have been denied access to it.'
'One cycle of IVF is a step in the right direction although official guidance is to fund up to three cycles,' she added. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence recommends that three cycles of IVF treatment are offered to eligible women under 40 years old on the NHS, and that eligible woman aged 40 to 42 years old are offered one cycle.
Elsewhere, Mid-Essex CCG has announced recently that it will no longer fund IVF except in 'clinically exceptional circumstances' (reported in BioNews 773). Devon CCG is also considering ending its funding of IVF, reports Fertility Fairness.