Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is planning to stop funding specialist fertility services according to a consultation published last month.

The consultation says the CCG will stop paying for specialist fertility services except in cases of patients undergoing cancer treatment, in order to preserve their fertility, and men who have a chronic viral infection, such as HIV.

This is the fourth CCG in the last 12 months to contemplate decommissioning the specialist service. In October 2015 North Essex, East Essex and South Norfolk CCGs stopped funding the treatment altogether and in September 2015 Basildon CCG also launched a consultation to scrap the service.

These proposals come despite guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, published in 2013, which directed that “intrauterine insemination” - the treatment offered by the NHS as an alternative to vaginal sexual intercourse - should be considered for:

  • People who can’t have normal intercourse because of a disability, or psychological problem.
  • People with conditions such as HIV that require specific action such as sperm washing
  • People in same-sex relationships.
  • People who have not conceived after six cycles of donor or partner insemination despite being healthy.

The consultation, published on 3 May, will close 24 July 2016.