On the BBC’S Victoria Derbyshire show (29.10.2015) Fertility Director, Prof Geeta Nargund claimed that some NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are paying more than double per cycle than others and called for a national tariff that would allow some regions to offer more women and couples treatment.

This ignites debate around the question of whether IVF costs on the NHS should be standardised. This is a complex issue, but one that impacts the lives of the many people seeking fertility treatment across the county.

Dr Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic comments, “Fertility treatment is unique to each patient, with a personalised treatment plan needed for each case. As such, it is difficult to work to a “set” cost for IVF services provided to the NHS.  For example, some patients will require additional treatment such as ICSI fertilisation, more medications or need to access services such embryo freezing. In these instances, there will naturally be variations in costs to offer patients these services.

“However, discussion around ways to reduce the costs of IVF on the NHS in order to increase the support offered to women and couples across the UK is healthy.  One in six couples in the UK face fertility problems, many of whom suffer from underlying health problems such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and it’s vital that we offer fair and affordable access to treatment where possible. 

“We would be interested to hear how the Department of Health would approach developing a charging framework or propose a standardised tariff.  However, we would urge that regional variations in the provision of services are considered, with geographic location having a huge impact on the costs of IVF services.”