New private fertility service in Norwich
06:30 17 August 2012
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A new private fertility service has been launched in Norwich to help treat couples who fall outside the NHS criteria.
Colney-based Spire Norwich Hospital decided to launch the service to meet the demand for IVF treatment, following a change in NHS eligibility criteria last summer.
All the initial consultations will take place in Norwich, with those requiring assisted conception then referred to Spire Healthcare’s recently-acquired London Fertility Centre following local consultation and advice.
Consultant gynaecologist Peter Greenwood, pictured, said: “I approached Spire after local NHS providers changed the eligibility criteria in 2011. The original criteria allowed couples who did not have a child together to have IVF treatment. This was changed to allow only couples where neither partner had a child to have NHS treatment.
“I saw many couples affected by the changes which meant they no longer qualified if they had any previous children.
“Many asking me for help may have had other children in a previous relationship, but longed for a child of their own within a new relationship.”
Eligibility criteria for the East of England also means that, currently, women have to be 23 to 40 to be able to access fertility treatment on the NHS.
Mr Greenwood said: “Couples are more commonly having children later in life, having established a secure financial setting in which to do so. While it is well documented that a woman’s chance of conception decreases with age, as long as there are no other health implications, I may be happy to treat women privately up until their 43rd birthday using their own eggs because there is still a reasonable chance of a successful outcome. Many women can still conceive naturally at this age, so the private option simply offers the same opportunity.”
A recent Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority report on the split between NHS and private IVF showed that 60pc of IVF cycles are provided in the private sector.
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