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South central criteria for access to

South Central Priorities Committees
(Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCTs)
Interim Policy Statement 150:

Assisted Conception Services

South Central Specialised

Approved June 2006; reconfirmed July 2007;
Commissioning Board decision: amended March 2008, revised July 2009;
amended September 2010, amended December
2012

Date of Issue:
February 2013


Specialist assisted conception treatments, including In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), will be commissioned for patients who meet the
criteria for access described in pages 2-5 below. Outside of the defined access criteria, all
assisted conception treatments remain a LOW PRIORITY.

The management of infertility includes both primary and secondary care assessment; diagnosis;
and interventional support (for example, lifestyle changes that may improve a couple’s chances of
conceiving). Patients/couples who require specialist infertility treatments in order to improve their
chances of having a baby must meet the criteria described in pages 2-5 below.
1. Patients/couples requesting specialist infertility treatment and meeting the eligibility criteria must
be referred for specialist infertility treatment(s) by a NHS Consultant Gynaecologist using the
standard referral form available from the Specialised Commissioners.
2. The Specialised Commissioners will confirm funding, and advise the patients’ managing
clinician of the preferred provider of their infertility treatment. NB NHS-funded specialist assisted
conception services are commissioned only from approved providers.
3. The NHS-funded specialist fertility unit providing the care will be solely responsible for initial
consultation; treatment planning; counselling/advising patients; treatment consent; all drugs;
egg collection; semen analysis; embryo transfer; pregnancy test(s); all consumables; pathology
tests; scans; and the HFEA fee.
4. All fertility drugs, such as anti-oestrogens, (eg clomiphene citrate), gonadotrophins, (including
gonadorelin analogues), and progestogens, should be prescribed only by the treating
consultant. GPs are advised not to prescribe any drugs for fertility.
South Central Specialised Commissioning Group is hosted by Hampshire Primary Care Trust South Central Criteria for Access to
IVF and Related Fertility Treatments
1.1 All couples will be expected to have gone through the primary and secondary care pathways as defined in the NICE Clinical Practice Algorithm appropriate to them before eligibility for IVF is considered. 1.2 South Central Specialised Commissioning Group (SCG) will fund one cycle of IVF treatment per eligible couple. In cases where this cycle is abandoned, for whatever reason, after the initiation of ovarian stimulation, the patient will not be eligible to start another NHS-funded cycle. 1.3 One cycle of IVF treatment is defined as one fresh cycle including ovulation induction, egg retrieval, fertilisation and implantation, and includes appropriate diagnostic tests, scans and pharmacological therapy. South Central SCG will not fund any subsequent frozen cycles using stored embryos. 1.4 These criteria for access will be reviewed on a regular basis. 1.5 It is anticipated that, rarely, patients who are not eligible for treatment because they do not fulfil these criteria may, by virtue of their personal circumstances, be considered an exceptional case for NHS funding. If this is thought to be applicable, the patients’ GP or Hospital Consultant may contact the relevant PCT Case Review Panel which is responsible for considering funding for individual cases. 1.6 This interim policy was approved on DATE TBC and is effective from DATE TBC, and will be reviewed in full on publication of NICE’s updated Clinical Guideline, Fertility, due to be published in 2012 Criterion
The age at referral should be before the female’s 35th birthday. Women approaching the age of 35 years must be referred in time to be able to commence treatment before their 35th birthday. No upper age limit for male partner (as per adoption laws). Any previous NHS funded IVF/ICSI treatment will be an exclusion criterion. People who have previously self-funded treatment are eligible for one NHS-funded cycle as long as they have not already received more than 2 self-funded cycles. Sub fertility treatment will be funded for women in same sex couples or women not in a partnership if those seeking treatment are demonstrably sub fertile. In the case of women in same sex couples in which only one partner is sub fertile, clinicians should discuss the possibility of the other partner becoming pregnant before proceeding to interventions involving the sub fertile partner. NHS funding will not be available for access to insemination facilities. In circumstances in which women in a same sex partnership or individuals are eligible for sub fertility treatment, the other criteria for eligibility for sub fertility treatments will also apply. Women in same sex couples and women not in a partnership should have access to professional experts in reproductive medicine to obtain advice on the options available to enable them to proceed along this route if they so wish. IVF using donated eggs from UK clinics licensed by the HFEA will be commissioned. If a couple has had frozen embryos transferred as part of earlier self-funded treatment the frozen cycles will not be counted as previous cycles, when assessing eligibility for NHS funded IVF. The transfer of frozen stored embryos from previous cycles of IVF will not be funded. Couples eligible for NHS IVF can have only fresh embryos from their NHS funded cycle transferred with NHS funding. IVM will not be funded, due to limited evidence of effectiveness. IUI will not be funded but the evidence will be reviewed. Potentially exceptional circumstances may be considered by the patient’s PCT where there is evidence of significant health status impairment (e.g. inability to perform activities of daily living.) This policy will be reviewed in the light of new evidence or guidance from NICE. Priorities Committee Minutes and policy recommendations can be viewed at http://www.sph.nhs.uk/ebc/policy-recommendations Criterion
Sperm storage will be funded for post-pubertal males under the age of 55 years who are about to undergo medical treatment which is likely to result in long-term sub-fertility. Subsequent assisted conceptions procedures using the sperm will not be funded unless the other eligibility criteria are met. . Oocyte (egg) preservation and ovarian tissue preservation are still experimental treatments, and will not be funded. However, the evidence will be kept under review. Freezing and storage of viable embryos from NHS funded IVF will be funded for up to 3 years (or the female partner’s 40th birthday if this is sooner) so that couples have the option to use stored embryos at a later stage if they choose Couples with a diagnosed cause of absolute infertility which precludes any possibility of natural conception, and who meet all the other criteria, will have immediate access to IVF on reaching the eligible age range. All other couples must have infertility of at least 3 years duration. Sperm washing for the prevention of transmission of blood borne viruses will not be funded, due to limited evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness. However, the evidence will be kept under review. Surgical sperm retrieval will be commissioned in appropriately selected patients, provided that the azoospermia is not the result of a sterilisation procedure or the absence of sperm production. Treatments for sub fertility will be funded if the couple does not have a living child from their relationship or from any previous relationship. This includes a child adopted by the couple or in a previous relationship. It is estimated that 66% of all couples attending out patient clinics with fertility problems are both childless. One partner is childless in a further 16% of couples attending sub fertility clinics. Once accepted for treatment, should a child be adopted or a pregnancy leading to a live birth occur the couple will no longer be eligible for treatment. Fertility treatment will not be available if the sub fertility is the result of a sterilisation procedure in either partner. In addition, the surgical reversal of either male or female sterilisation will not be funded except in exceptional circumstances. If the individual’s situation is thought to warrant such consideration, the patients’ general practitioner should contact the relevant PCT so that such an application might be made. Women must have a BMI of between 19.0 and 29.9 inclusive for a period of 6 months or more before receiving any treatment. They should be informed of this criterion at the earliest possible opportunity in their progress through infertility investigations in primary care and secondary care. GPs are encouraged to provide unambiguous and clear information about BMI criteria to infertile couples. Potentially exceptional circumstances may be considered by the patient’s PCT where there is evidence of significant health status impairment (e.g. inability to perform activities of daily living.) This policy will be reviewed in the light of new evidence or guidance from NICE. Priorities Committee Minutes and policy recommendations can be viewed at http://www.sph.nhs.uk/ebc/policy-recommendations Criterion
Only non-smoking couples will be accepted on the IVF treatment waiting list. They must be informed of this criterion at the earliest possible opportunity in their progress through infertility investigations in primary care and secondary care. GPs are encouraged to provide unambiguous and clear information to infertile couples. A statement should also be issued at the time of publishing the eligibility criteria, emphasising the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle and highlighting the dangers of smoking and passive smoking, obesity, alcohol and caffeinated beverages as important causes of infertility. Couples not conforming to the HFEA’s Code of Ethics, will be excluded from having access to NHS funded assisted fertility or other treatment. This includes consideration of the ‘welfare of the child which may be born’ which may take into account the importance of a stable and supportive environment for children as well as the pre-existing health status of the parents. Potentially exceptional circumstances may be considered by the patient’s PCT where there is evidence of significant health status impairment (e.g. inability to perform activities of daily living.) This policy will be reviewed in the light of new evidence or guidance from NICE. Priorities Committee Minutes and policy recommendations can be viewed at http://www.sph.nhs.uk/ebc/policy-recommendations

Source: http://www.farehamandgosportccg.nhs.uk/Downloads/Policies/SHIP%20Policy%20150%20-%20Assisted%20Conception%20Services.pdf

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