Research carried out by Postpartum Plan reveals huge disparities in access to NHS-funded IVF treatment in different areas of England


New research conducted by Postpartum Plan, which used the NHS’ most recent report (3 August) showing funding decisions for IVF support, found that female same-sex couples pay far more than heterosexual peers to access IVF support. 

The study highlighted that many NHS-funded IVF programmes required same-sex couples to have had 6-12 cycles of self-funded artificial insemination before they could be considered for IVF support. At a private clinic in the UK, one cycle could cost a couple anywhere between £350-£1,600. As a result, some same-sex couples could pay up to £25,000 before accessing NHS-funded IVF support. 

However, the research conducted found that the same couldn’t be said for heterosexual couples, with many parts of the UK offering guaranteed eligibility to them for IVF support with no previous cycles. 

In the England, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were found to be the worst places for same-sex couples to receive IVF support. All of these areas require female same-sex couples to have undergone at least 12 cycles of self-funded artificial insemination before even qualifying for NHS support. 

Postpartum Plan found that same-sex couples opting for the private pathway has increased by a third.

Meg Murray Jones from Postpartum Plan said: “IVF can be an extremely challenging process with patients needing additional physical and emotional support throughout. Our current NHS IVF criteria are restrictive, especially for same-sex couples, and we were shocked to see how each region differed based on the support and funding available. More work needs to be done to provide a duty of care to people wanting to go on their fertility journey, and offer ongoing support throughout and after the process.” 

To read more about Postpartum Plan’s findings, click here

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