Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 15:24 UK

IVF postcode lottery: Your comments

Treatment for infertility varies significantly across the country. Some Primary Care Trusts offer three rounds of IVF on the NHS whereas others don't offer any at all.

More than 80% of NHS primary care trusts in England fail to offer the recommended three free cycles of IVF to infertile couples, an MP has claimed. Grant Shapps says a "postcode lottery" operates, with rules on age, relationships and other children varying widely.

BBC News website readers have been talking about their experiences.


Alison and husband
Alison and her husband have been through one cycle of IVF

When we were first told we needed IVF, we had just moved from Manchester to Stockport. We were told by the doctor that had we still lived in Manchester it would be a six month wait but we would only be allowed one cycle. Because we actually lived in Stockport, we were allowed three cycles but we would have to wait for two years. To add to the confusion the doctor then added that the Stockport PCT was about to change the number of cycles from three to two!

When you undergo IVF, you put your life on hold and I couldn't stand the thought of being on a waiting list for two years so we decided to go for private treatment. It failed. Going private meant we had forfeited one round of free NHS treatment.

It is a postcode lottery for couples in our area and extremely confusing
Alison, Stockport

We have since returned to the original NHS doctor and she told us that the waiting time has changed from two years to just one month and because of this we have been taken off the waiting list because there is no waiting list!

After my first round of IVF I became quite ill, so we have not had another round as yet. When I feel stronger we will start investigating the process again but as you can imagine, we have no idea what is actually available to us. The information changes all the time.

It is a postcode lottery for couples in our area and extremely confusing which only adds to the stress and heartache of the IVF rollercoaster.
Alison, Stockport

Rod and wife
Rod and his wife Tiggy who now have a 15-month-old daughter

Living in Hampshire in 2004, my wife and I were unable to receive even one cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS as our local PCT did not have the funds. We moved to Devon and found that we were able to receive treatment on the NHS. This wasn't the reason we decided to move to Devon but we feel incredibly lucky that it turned out this way. The IVF cycle was successful and we now have a 15-month-old little girl. I believe that funding for IVF treatment should not be granted at local PCT level, but on a national level, to avoid such unfortunate scenarios.
Roderick, Umberleigh, Devon

My husband is in the forces so of course we do not get a choice of where we live making the postcode lottery even more of a gamble for us. Until recently we were living in Yorkshire where no IVF was offered. Now we live in Oxfordshire and are entitled to one cycle. Down the road from us in Wiltshire we would be offered three cycles. In Oxfordshire the age limit for IVF treatment is changing from between 30 and 39 to between 23 and 34. Less than 10 miles from our home Wiltshire PCT are continuing with the age limit of 30 to 39! It's all very confusing.
Karen, Carterton, Oxon

A friend who lives 10 miles from me only gets one round and if I lived in her house, I would be too old
Caroline, Esher

I am just beginning my first round of IVF and I feel incredibly grateful that I am entitled to this treatment on the NHS. I am 37 and have been with my husband for four years; I'm not overweight and do not smoke. My PCT will pay for two rounds of IVF. I do not think that it is a right to be given fertility treatment and although I know I have not cost the NHS money in the past, I still feel thankful for this expensive treatment. A friend who lives 10 miles from me only gets one round and if I lived in her house, I would be too old.
Caroline, Esher, Surrey

I am a 31-year-old married woman and we were only entitled to one NHS funded treatment and subsequently went on to pay for two private treatments costing in the region of £10,000. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant. Not only is it unfair that we were only entitled to one treatment we were only allowed to have the treatment at our local NHS hospital where the success rates fall well below the national average. Some PCTs allow patients to choose where they have their treatment, giving them access to clinics with better success rates. The whole IVF process is an emotional rollercoaster which can affect your relationship.
Michelle, Leicester

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