CAMPAIGNERS have hailed a decision to give York couples one cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS, bringing the area into line with the rest of the UK.

The NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Governing Body said yesterday it had agreed a criteria for treatment for couples.

The group was previously the only one in the country not to offer a single cycle of the fertility treatment after Scarborough and Ryedale voted last month to reintroduce it.

Karen Boardman, 34, of Heworth, York, who has been trying to conceive since she married her husband Pete three years ago, and has spoken out previously about the issue, said yesterday: “It’s absolutely excellent news. It’s a really positive step forward, although I had hoped they might offer two cycles.” She revealed that after undergoing fertility treatment, she had just been told she needed IVF and it was possible the decision might benefit her in time.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said he was absolutely delighted, adding: “Despite inheriting massive debts from the old Primary Care Trust and a national health funding formula which sadly still disadvantages York, the CCG have made fantastic headway in balancing the books”

York Central MP Hugh Bailey said: “I have been campaigning for a change in policy and I am glad the CCG has agreed to start paying for this treatment once again, at least for some infertile couples.

“I will watch how many couples are treated and how successful the treatments are in comparison to other areas of the country.”

The Vale of York group covers Pocklington, Pickering, Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Easingwold, Selby and Tadcaster as well as York.

Yesterday’s announcement follows a CCG commitment to review the old IVF policy it inherited from North Yorkshire Primary Care Trust and is in recognition of National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Treatment will be available, based on previous treatment history, to women aged 23 to 39, with a BMI of 19 to 29 for six months before referral, who do not smoke, do not have children or adopted children, have been in a stable relationship for two years and who have been trying for children for two years.

The CCG will use the criteria to develop a fertility policy for the Governing Body to consider in August, after which it will agree the start date. A spokesman said: “Careful consideration will be given to previously eligible couples currently seeking IVF services.”

Dr Emma Broughton, the CCG’s Clinical Lead for Women’s health, said: “I am delighted that the Governing Body has formally agreed the criteria, which now means that for the first time in five years, IVF is now available to couples in the local area.”

The National Infertility Awareness Campaign welcomed the ‘significant shift in policy,’, saying: “We are delighted that the Vale of York has recognised the importance of providing funding for fertility treatment, and pleased with the opportunity this will give to some couples. However, what the CCG is offering falls far short of what the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends.”