New NHS guidelines on IVF treatment to extend age limit up to 42 - what do you think?

(583 Posts)
JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Feb-13 10:26:09

Good morning,

New IVF guidelines issued by the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) say that women aged up to 42 should be allowed one cycle of IVF treatment so long as it is their first attempt. Previously Nice recommended treatment up to the age of 39.

The guidelines also suggest that all couples who are struggling to conceive should get fertility treatment more quickly ? after two years of trying to conceive naturally, rather than three.

We'd love to hear what you think.

Thanks,
MNHQ

jellybeans Wed 20-Feb-13 10:29:30

I am strongly in favour of the changes. I haven't had fertility issues although had problems keeping a pregnancy and many early and late losses. It took us over a year with DC5 and was very tough. I can only imagine the heartbreak of infertility. I think of course they should be helped. 42 is not that old, I know many 'natural' pregnancies at that age. Arbitrary cut off at 40 was ridiculous.

HappyJoyful Wed 20-Feb-13 10:31:21

Very exciting news - but no idea how it will be delivered.. current guidelines have been hit and miss and a total postcode lottery.
Having undergone 5 cycles of IVF myself at one point in my area (Bucks) I was on a waiting list and was too young, finally got up the waiting list and the guidelines had changed and I was too old!
Have many friends who have also undergone IVF and what we were being offered by PCT's in way of funded cycles was so varying dependent on where we lived.
Sorry bit of garbled (rushed) response, but it put huge smile on my face this morning when watching the news to hear it being proposed at least.
Very happy to discuss views on it further as I say, well 'experienced' in the subject!

ATJabberwocky Wed 20-Feb-13 10:58:34

I am glad that the need for change has been recognised,

however it remains to be seen how this will actually work in practice with NHS budget restrictions, it will just end up in a worse 'postcode-lottery' for those who can and cannot.

5madthings Wed 20-Feb-13 11:17:24

Good news smile

BasicallySFB Wed 20-Feb-13 11:18:16

There are so many flaws in the current system that really these changes make little odds.

They're only a guideline and don't 'have' to be followed.

Many PCT areas have such stringent criteria that they don't offer IVF to that many people in reality - case in point being my own.

I met all criteria. Stage 4 endo and PCOS. No children. Trying for 8 years with no success.

But DH has 2 children (then aged 20 and 21) from his previous marriage.

So we were rejected. I had no children. That didn't matter.

Anything that improves access to IVF has to be a good thing. Many women don't find the right man to have children with until their 30s, and after several years of trying that can put you into the late 30s/early 40s before referral to a fertility specialist, then there's all the other stuff they look at before considering IVF, and that's only if you qualify under your particular Trust's guidelines. The arbitary cut-off of 40 is unrealistic.

Luckily our GP is on the Birmingham/Worcestershire border. Birmingham don't pay for one round of IVF if one of the partners has previous children. Worcester do pay for one round if one of the partners has no children so we were lucky to get one free go. Unfortunately that didn't work, but each round of IVF is a learning process for the medics. We had to pay for the other two rounds, and round three was succesful.

Good news, all women should be entitled to a chance at being a mummy.

Astley Wed 20-Feb-13 11:50:24

Totally disagree. It is noones right' or 'entitlement' to me a Mother or a Father.

Certainly not at the NHS expense.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Wed 20-Feb-13 11:59:27

astely no one has said a person has a right to have a child. This is about the right to fertility treatment.

You do have a point about the nhs budget though. I am guessing there will be no extra funds to pay for this.

13Iggis Wed 20-Feb-13 12:00:46

But Astley as it stands the nhs CAN fund a woman up to age 39. I assume you would like to cancel this as well. (I also assume you didn't have problems conceiving, though this may be wrong)

cathan Wed 20-Feb-13 12:08:46

No one has a "right" to have a child and the older a parent is, the more likely they are to have health issues or even die before their child grows up. Given that the NHS has limited resources, I believe extending provision of IVF to older women is wrong. I would rather the money was spent on children's cancer care or improving care for the elderly.

13Iggis Wed 20-Feb-13 12:11:36

We could always pay more money into the NHS.

PolkadotCircus Wed 20-Feb-13 12:14:26

Good news but think 3 years up to the age of 30 would be better.I also think more guidance re conceiving,ttc monitoring,rigorous testing before going down the IVF route is needed.

I am an IVF mother who had to pay for all our treatment from blood tests to investigations and IVF ourselves.

It was crippling and we had to sell our flat to do so.Often women going through treatment struggle to hold down jobs as you take a lot of time off during cycles.The financial fall out lasts several years and I don't think having children if infertile should only be a possibility for the rich/richer couples.

I had a friend suffering at the same time in a far lower paid job than me-she was heartbroken seeing me enabled and at least given a chance to get pg whilst she could do nothing. Ivf is heartbreaking enough,can't even begin to think what it must be like if it isn't even a possibility.

As far as I know said friend is still childless,we lost contact when I had children,too painful I guess.sad

I agree that no one has a right or entitlement to IVF. I strongly believe that no one has a right or entitlement to healthcare of any sort at all. However, we live in a country where there is an expectation that we all put into the pot, and we all benefit.

So anyone shouting that IVF shouldn't be paid for, should also be arguing that obesity related illness, lifestyle induced cancers, and self-inflicted injuries via road traffic accidents should also not be covered by the NHS. After all, no one should have a right to treatment for something that they could have prevented should they? That money could be better spent on childhood cancer ... and maybe we could also cut out NHS care for anyone who hasn't paid taxes or NI too - that should free up some more money for the self-righteous buggars shouldn't it?

And there's actually a lot of benefit to being an older parent. My parents childmind so I can work full time and contribute fully to taxes, and I expect to continue and do the same for my daughter.

Incidentally, IVF, as a health treatment, is actually extremely cheap. A private round of IVF is about £3 - £5K. I suggest you google how much a broken leg costs to fix, or how much a traffic accident costs the country.

PolkadotCircus Wed 20-Feb-13 12:17:53

Oh and IVF I suspect is waaaay cheaper than treating years of depression x2,care for the childless elderly and endo/pcos treatment which pg can treat.There are also cancers helped by pg.

I do think the NHS should find a way to make it cheaper to do though,it's quite routine now and shouldn't cost so much.

note to self do not feed the trolls grin

Bakingtins Wed 20-Feb-13 12:18:13

In an ideal world in which the NHS was swimming in spare cash, this would be great. When they are cutting front line staff and not able to fund drugs for some life limiting conditions, I don't think this should be funded.
Women need to be made more aware that their fertility declines after 35 (and I think most are in a general sense but don't apply it to themselves).
I've been TTC for 18m and I'm 38, I wouldn't qualify anyway because I already have children, but I have to accept that I'm less fertile now than I was in my 20s and early 30s. It's hard and I have sympathy for those who are struggling TTC, but I would not expect the NHS to fund fertility treatment for me after 40.

I don't think that IVF up to the age of 42 is a particularly good use of public funds tbh. IVF does not have a particularly good success rate and is hugely invasive. But then I conceived easily three times and had all my kids by the age of 30. It's a very different story from my side of the fence isn't it? Which is why treatment should be determined only national guidance rather than individual sentiment.

PolkadotCircus Wed 20-Feb-13 12:21:32

And what World said.

I think a hardworking healthy couple(most lead v healthy lives on the ttc wagon)who have paid tax all their lives are waaaay more deserving of NHS fund age than somebody who chooses to smoke,take little exercise or to live with obesity.

Sooooo if we're going to start nit picking over NHS fundage lets draw up a list re the deserving and not so deserving......

PointyDogs Wed 20-Feb-13 12:25:34

Very happy to see this in the news, fertillity treatment should be available to anyone who needs it. At 41 or 42, plenty of women have a greater chance of success with IVF than a woman in her 20s or 30s - it totally depends on the particular medical condition the couple have, so it is blatantly unfair to discriminate on the basis of age. We started trying when I was 35, after 4 cycles of IVF (only 1 NHS funded) we finally met our amazing daughter last summer, when I was 41. My mum had me at 41, totally naturally, so who is to say I am "too old".

Infertility is a medical condition, a sickness, a life-changing disease - why should we be denied appropriate treatment?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 20-Feb-13 12:34:04

You can generally bet that the people who say that having children is not a right, or that the NHS should be paying for childhood cancers rather than helping those infertile people have a child, are not the infertile ones themselves.

From a purely personal and financial perspective, I have cost the NHS very, very little over the years, despite paying taxes from age 22. That's my good fortune and it is irrelevant. But for those saying "The NHS should not not fund IVF", it is often the case that these childless people in their 30s/early 40s have been thus far been far less of a "drain" on resources than someone with children, who naturally are the ones who the NHS spend a lot on. If you want to look at it like that. It is also usually the case that those who have been TTC for the necessary 2 to 3 years before being referred are the non-smokers and light drinkers.

I planned on starting my family at 34-ish. At nearly 38 I still don't have a child, and have been uncomfortably aware that because of delays and fuck ups with the system, my time could be running out fast.

I also agree that more should be done to get the message through that fertility declines after the mid 30s (even though for many people that is irrelevant anyway, because their problems are not age related). And by this I don't mean Daily Fail -style scaremongering, but proper education in schools. I always assumed that you were fertile until the menopause hit. It was only after starting TTC that I realised otherwise, and I am by no means an unintelligent, uninformed person.

So yes this is a good thing, though people mustn't think that the chances of IVF working at 42 are the same as at 36.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Wed 20-Feb-13 12:39:33

ariel really good point about the chances of success being lower at 42 than at 36. It is important that people know the chances of success are quite low.

I know a friend who has just divorced (36 no kids) she is going to have some eggs frozen to give her a better shot at a successful pregnancy later on in life. But she is lucky that she can find this money, she's not loaded but can just about afford it.

Good news. Wonderful for people to have the chance to have children who have had problems doing so, I speak from personal experience.

People who are naturally fertile can often have children past 42 so 42 is really not that old at all. Who knows, those children born form IVF of women of 42 may go on to be doctors, nurses, find a cure for cancer etc etc. 42 seems very young now bearing in mind people are living into their 80s and beyond.

We did not get any of our fertility treatment paid for but I am very much in favour of people getting help with this, it is medical and it is important.

FairyJen Wed 20-Feb-13 12:40:05

My issue with this news is that I worry the post code lottery divide will worsen. I also worry about long term issues for older parents and how it will affect their children etc.

Having said that I conceived my first dc when I was 20 and the second at 25 neither was planned at all. I cannot imagine therefore the heartbreak caused by ttc for years

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