Is NHS IVF funding in Mid and South Essex going to be given a second chance?

When Amanda and Michael from Wickford in Essex were told they needed IVF treatment six years ago they were initially entitled to three rounds of NHS-funded treatment – but once treatment had started their local CCG took the decision to withdraw funding altogether. “It added to our stress immeasurably” says Amanda who is hoping that NHS IVF funding in Mid and South Essex could be reinstated for others.

Clock ticking

Amanda had always suspected she would struggle to get pregnant as she had just two periods a year. Two rounds of ovulation induction treatment at hospital were unsuccessful and she and husband Michael were referred for NHS-funded IVF.

“I was around 30 by this time and really felt as though the clock was ticking as so many of my friends had had children already or were currently pregnant,” says Amanda.

At the time Amanda and Michael were entitled to three rounds of NHS-funded IVF treatment which they chose to have at Bourn Hall.

“I had produced a lot of eggs on our first round of treatment but overstimulated and so the decision was made to freeze all our embryos so that my body could recover,” says Amanda.

“Then we found out that our local CCG was withdrawing the funding for IVF and in order for us to be able to keep our NHS funding for this round we needed to re-start our treatment before January 2017. We had a frozen embryo transfer but unfortunately it was unsuccessful and our NHS funding was stopped.

Alfie and NHS IVF funding in mid and south essex

We decided to fund ourselves and plough on with treatment

“We had started our treatment thinking that we would get up to three rounds of funded IVF but were now going to have to fund ourselves. We were heartbroken that our FET hadn’t worked but we still had two embryos frozen at Bourn Hall and decided that we would have to plough on.”

“Two rounds of NHS-funded IVF treatment would have given us the opportunity to try again without the extra financial pressure on top of the pressure of conceiving,” says Amanda. “Infertility and going through IVF are extremely emotional and stressful experiences for a couple to go through.

“Having our funding taken away mid treatment was an additional emotional blow and added to our stress immeasurably. The NHS is all about helping the public with medical conditions. Infertility is no different. I hope that funding is reinstated so many more couples’ dreams can come true.”

Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) consultation – have your say

There is currently a postcode lottery for patients seeking fertility treatment in Essex. Where you live, or who your GP is, can dictate whether or not you are eligible for NHS funding for IVF treatment.  The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB), has now opened a consultation about how a fairer policy should be implemented and is proposing to offer two cycles of funded IVF to all patients who meet the strict criteria.

There is a simple survey to complete – closing date 18th December 2022

More information

Find out more about the consultation in our blog.

Bourn Hall provides both NHS-funded and self-funded IVF treatment to patients in the East of England – see more about our funding options.

Amanda is now mum to Alfie after successful treatment at Bourn Hall – read her story here.

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