Have your say on proposed changes to NHS help to have a baby

The NHS in north east London is proposing to fund three cycles of IVF for all eligible local people who are trying to get pregnant, as part of changes that will make the funding of NHS treatment for people with fertility problems fairer across the boroughs.

This proposal is one of a number of changes in North East London Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NEL CCG) proposed new fertility policy that aims to ensure wherever you live in north east London, you are able to have the same fertility treatment, such as IVF – this is not currently the case.

Dr Anju Gupta, GP and clinical lead at NEL CCG, said: “Our proposed new policy is good news for people living in north east London who need help to try to have a baby now and in the future. It would make access to treatment fairer and closer to the latest national guidelines and best practice, while also recognising people’s different fertility situations and needs. 

“I’m excited that what we are proposing is likely to increase the amount of treatment you can have and improve access to some treatments. The aim of the new policy is not to reduce the treatments that we fund or who is eligible to have them.

“At the same time, we must make the best use of NHS money given the increasing needs of our population and competing demands for resources. Our proposals will require increased investment, but we believe our new policy addresses inequalities across north east London.”

The CCG used the latest national clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), research and best practice to develop the proposed new policy. Clinicians, including GPs and fertility experts have also helped to shape it.

There are many treatments that can help you try to get pregnant, some of which are paid for by the NHS. The main treatment areas where the CCG is proposing changes to its current fertility policies are:

  • Number of IVF cycles the NHS will fund depending on the age of the woman or person trying to get pregnant. IVF is a treatment where eggs are collected and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory to create embryos. These are then put into the womb to try to grow and develop.
  • Funding of intrauterine insemination (IUI) for certain people. IUI is a type of artificial insemination when the better-quality sperm are separated out and this sperm is then injected directly into the womb.
  • Funding of treatment to help you try to get pregnant using donor eggs/sperm based on certain criteria.
  • The length of time the NHS funds the storage of eggs, embryos or sperm for people who need to have a treatment or have a condition which might make them infertile in the future, also called fertility preservation.
  • Ovarian reserve criteria. This is the number and quality of eggs remaining in the ovaries which is measured by tests to predict how many eggs might be produced during IVF.

The proposed new policy is for both individuals and couples with a fertility problem, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status, and is intended to apply to people who live in Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.

Find out more and have your say by 22 August 2022

You can find more information on NEL CCG’s website, www.northeastlondonccg.nhs.uk/fertility, including an engagement document, which explains why the local NHS is proposing changes to fertility treatment, what the proposed changes are, who was involved in creating the proposed new policy, and explanations of the treatments.

We want local people to tell us what they think of our proposed changes. We are particularly interested in hearing from people who have experienced fertility problems, and who are from under-represented groups that are less likely to have their voices heard by decision-makers – this includes Black and minority ethnic people and the LGBTQ+ community.

Please fill in our online survey on our website – www.northeastlondonccg.nhs.uk/fertility – by 11.59pm on 22 August 2022 or come to one of our public meetings:

  • Monday 18 July, 6-7.30pm
  • Wednesday 20 July, 6-7.30pm 
  • Friday 29 July, 12-1.30pm
  • Wednesday 3 August, 6-7.30pm

Details of how to sign-up to the events are on our website, www.northeastlondonccg.nhs.uk/fertility