New private fertility service in Norwich

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.

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'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.

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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.

Have you got a health story? Contact Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email

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