A CAMPAIGN has been launched against a decision which has made York the only area in the UK not to fund fertility treatment.
Despite announcing it would provide a single cycle of the fertility treatment IVF, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) backtracked on the decision earlier this month on a 5-4 vote, deciding to delay plans because it cannot afford the service.
Now the support group York Fertility Network has launched a petition against the "postcode lottery" and is calling for York to bring its policy in line with the rest of the UK.
The petition is due to be presented to the Vale of York CCG.
Karen Boardman, a member of the York Fertility Network who is due to undergo IVF treatment, said: "The whole situation is a disgrace. To have given hope to so many couples across York and then snatched it away is simply wrong.
"They have also said that it will cost £2 million to offer 110 people one cycle of IVF. This is absurd. The IVFYes campaign's research says on average it costs £3,434.70 per person per cycle of IVF. To suggest that it will cost just over £18,000 per person is completely ridiculous."
Among the 273 to sign the petition so far, many have left personal messages saying why they are supporting the campaign.
One woman wrote: "My sister is having IVF and has had to find the money to do so; this causes additional stress that they don't need."
Another reads: "It's unfair that we live in a country with national laws and policies and in an era of vast scientific advances and yet something so important to so many people can depend simply on postcode. Everyone in the UK should have equal entitlements and access to healthcare."
One person wrote: "Live in York and paid for 3 IVF cycles in Leeds. Third time lucky for us - we have a beautiful boy. Should be made available on NHS like rest of country."
A spokesman for Vale of York CCG said: "The CCG is aware of the York Fertility Network’s petition regarding IVF provision in York.
"The Governing Body’s recent decision to delay the commissioning of IVF was due to the current financial pressure facing the organisation. The cost pressure for this could be as much as £2 million, taking into account the four-year freeze on funding.
"The CCG hopes that the non-commissioning of IVF will be a temporary position, recognising the disappointment of this decision for many couples affected with sub-fertility. The aspiration to meet National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria and to commission IVF services for couples in the Vale of York still remains."
The York Fertility Network supports people facing fertility problems. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information, or find the York Fertility Network page on Facebook. The petition can be seen at www.change.org