In May and June 2018 we engaged with people in Medway about proposals to change the provision of fertility services. Over 900 people responded to a survey, we also held discussions in community groups, with GPs and at a public meeting.

Thank you to all those who took the time to give us your views.

The majority of people who responded agreed with the proposal that the NHS should review services in general and there was fairly strong agreement that fertility services should be part of the review.

However, there was strong/fairly strong disagreement when asked about the proposal to reduce the number of cycles of fertility treatment from two to one.

See the Engagement Report for the full results.

Early engagement is being conducted across other parts of Kent. The CCGs will take this into account as part of the review of fertility services and then decide whether to hold a full public consultation in the autumn of 2018. Further information and updates will be posted here.

 

What is IVF?
While most women who are trying to fall pregnant do so within two years, around 10 per cent of couples are unsuccessful. There are many clinical conditions that can contribute to infertility but for about a quarter of couples the reasons are not known. There are three main types of treatment, one of which is assisted conception including in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

What are we proposing?

In England, specialist fertility treatments are paid for by local CCGs, which decide how much treatment to offer their residents, based on careful evaluation of factors such as health risks, overall outcomes, population need and costs. There is national guidance but it is not binding.

 For those people who meet the criteria for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with or without intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) on the NHS, we currently offer a maximum of four embryo transfers including no more than two transfers from fresh cycles.  We are proposing reducing this to a maximum of two embryo transfers; one using a fresh embryo and one using a frozen embryo collected as part of the same cycle

What is a cycle of IVF?

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence defines a full cycle of IVF  as one in which one or two embryos produced from eggs collected after ovarian stimulation are replaced into the womb as fresh embryos (where possible), with any remaining good‑quality embryos frozen for use. When these frozen embryos are used later, this is still considered to be part of the same cycle.  See https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156/ifp/chapter/in-vitro-fertilisation for further details.

 

Why are we considering a reduction in provision?

There is a growing gap in Kent and Medway between the money available to pay for NHS care and the costs the NHS faces. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the NHS organisations which plan and pay for most of your healthcare, have to balance the need for different types of treatment against the benefits they give, which can require some difficult decisions.

In Medway we have already looked at several ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency but we need to do more, to free up enough money for essentials such as urgent and emergency care, and cancer treatment. So we are now considering changes to spending on fertility treatment.

How much does IVF cost the NHS in Medway?


Last year NHS Medway CCG spent approximately £226,000 on in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).  This funding provided about 60 eligible couples with treatment.  Each cycle costs approximately £3,750.  £171,000 of the total expenditure is on the first cycle of treatment, and £55,000 funds second cycles of treatment.

 

Please contact us if you have any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01634 335 111