Only quarter of London IVF treatments funded by NHS, new figures reveal, as UK numbers drop by more than 1,700 – Evening Standard

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The number of babies being born in the UK from IVF has fallen by more than 1,700 in a year, figures revealed today.

There were 17,532 births from 65,272 cycles of fertility treatment in 2018, a success rate of 26.8 per cent.

This was down 1,710 from 19,242 babies born in 2017 from 67,649 assisted reproduction cycles, a rate of 28.4 per cent.

Todays figures, from the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, also revealed the lowest number of IVF births in six years from a couples own eggs and sperm a total of 14,821 babies, 1,778 fewer than the previous year.

The annual Fertility Trends report also showed only 27 per cent of IVF treatments were funded by the NHS in London, the third worst rate in England.

By comparison, 60 per cent of treatments were paid for by the NHS in Scotland. Across the country, about 2,000 fewer women had their first round of fertility treatment funded by the NHS.

Funding is controlled by local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which routinely ignore the NHS guidance to offer three free cycles.

Professor Adam Balen, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists spokesman on reproductive medicine, said the continued fall in NHS-funded cycles was hugely disappointing.

He said: In 2018 in Scotland, 60 per cent of treatment was NHS-funded, compared to 45 per cent in Northern Ireland, 41 per cent in Wales and 35 per cent in England.

"In England, many CCGs have reduced funding for fertility treatment and, as a result, the share of IVF cycles funded by the NHS has declined across most regions. IVF is seen to be an easy target.

"But infertility is a serious medical condition, resulting in huge stress and distress and caused itself by a large number of different medical problems.

The number of eggs and embryos being frozen for later treatment rose year-on-year by 1,348 to 8,964. Sarah Norcross, director of fertility charity the Progress Educational Trust, said the rise showed women see social egg freezing as a valid reproductive choice.

The multiple birth rate fell to eight per cent, showing parents are more aware that two or more embryos does not substantially boost the chance of having a baby.

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Only quarter of London IVF treatments funded by NHS, new figures reveal, as UK numbers drop by more than 1,700 - Evening Standard

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