The Scottish Government has made progress in treatment times for IVF however it is today being asked to consider how to fund three cycles without pushing up waiting times following a number of evidence sessions into the provision of fertility services by MSPs on the Health and Sport Committee.
Currently couples are entitled to only two cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS however a report by the National Infertility Review Group in 2013 had an ultimate aim of providing eligible couples with three cycles.
In a letter to the Public Health Minister Maureen Watt MSP the Committee outlines the importance of assessing the potential impact provision of a third cycle would have on capacity in the system, the cost of its provision and how equity of provision can be maintained.
Convener of the Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“It was clear from our evidence that NHS Boards have improved significantly on waiting times for fertility treatment and that there is equity across the country.
“The Committee heard that three cycles of IVF would give the best chance of success to the thousands of couples each year who rely on IVF to conceive.
“What is less clear is how this could be implemented without adversely affecting waiting times. This is why we’re calling on the Scottish Government to look into this issue.”
Deputy Convener of the Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“It is clear that progress has been made and this was reflected in the evidence we heard. Significant investment has been made in the system by the Scottish Government and this has had a positive impact in allowing couples to access the treatment they need.
“The Committee was however concerned about the strict criteria which excludes couples where one of the partners has a child living with them in the home. The Committee is of the view that this should be revisited at the earliest opportunity by the National Infertility Review Group, with a view to extending provision.”
The Committee also asked the Scottish Government for more information on what assessment is currently conducted on the provision of counselling services to patients receiving fertility treatment.