For many infertile couples in England, the area where they live can greatly affect their chances of starting a family together. Studies estimate around one in six couples seek specialist help, but currently the amount and type of fertility treatment offered by the NHS varies dramatically in different primary care trusts.

For many infertile couples in England, the area where they live can greatly affect their chances of starting a family together. Studies estimate around one in six couples seek specialist help, but currently the amount and type of fertility treatment offer

For many infertile couples in England, the area where they live can greatly affect their chances of starting a family together. Studies estimate around one in six couples seek specialist help, but currently the amount and type of fertility treatment offered by the NHS varies dramatically in different primary care trusts.

Fertility: Delivering change

The importance of accessible IVF treatment for infertile couples should not be underestimated: it is difficult to fully comprehend the distress and heartache that must come from knowing that treatment is possible, but unavailable in your area.

The National Infertility Awareness Campaign, led by Infertility Network UK, has been canvassing for improvements in fertility services since 1994. It celebrated a major breakthrough in 2004 when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published a set of guidelines called Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems.

This stated that eligible couples should be offered three full IVF cycles if the woman is between 23 and 39 years of age, and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection should be considered for those with specific male fertility problems or in whom previous IVF treatment cycles have been unsuccessful. Many people expected this guidance to be the catalyst that would end the postcode lottery for infertile couples and standardise NHS fertility services.

To read more, download the supplement as a pdf.