COUPLES in the Vale of York have finally won access to fertility treatment on the NHS.

Health chiefs at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) received the green light from its Governing Body today to press ahead with plans to provide IVF.  

York had been the only area in the country not to provide a single cycle of the treatment.

The move comes after a year of indecision from the CCG which, having said it would provide the treatment, backtracked on the decision in August saying it would cost too much. 

But having revised the potential demand from couples it has today been decided it is affordable. 

Dr Emma Broughton, a local GP and the CCG’s Clinical Lead for Women’s Health said she was delighted by the change in the commissioning position.

She said: “I’m so proud to be part of the team at the CCG that has championed the provision of local IVF services and helped to change, for the first time in several years, the commissioning position for the Vale of York." 

Nearly 1000 people had signed a petition against the "postcode lottery" - calling for York to bring its policy in line with the rest of the UK. 

Karen Boardman, a York IVF campaigner, said: " It's definitely a big step forward, it's a long way from the NICE guidelines which say three cycles but it's a step in the right direction. It gives hope to so many couples in the area."    

Individuals will need to meet a series of criteria. The female will need to be aged between 23 and 39 at the time of treatment and have a BMI (body mass index) of 19 to 29 for six months prior to a referral.
The couple must be non-smoking for six months prior to a referral, must not have living or adopted children and must have been in a stable relationship for at least two years. 

They must also have had regular attempts to conceive for at least two years prior to referral, within the same stable relationship. 

A full description of the criteria is available at

York Outer MP Jullian Sturdy said: "I am delighted to hear that the Vale of York CCG have finally voted to offer one cycle of IVF on the NHS. I know from the many constituents who've contacted me on this issue how much it will mean to so many couples across York. At the same time, my sympathies remain with those who have been denied treatment and have either paid thousands of pounds for it or who are now past the eligible age criteria.

"Following their u-turn on the previous announcements, I must be honest and say that I am treating today's news with some caution and I will refrain from properly welcoming it until I know that my constituents are actually benefitting. This is an issue which I've been campaigning on for some time, hosting meetings with the Fertility Fairness group and making several representations to the CCG, so it's disappointing that it's taken them this long to come to their senses.

"We must also not forget that the one cycle being offered today falls foul of the three cycles the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends. But nevertheless I am pleased with today's news and I sincerely hope it will be a positive step towards greater fertility fairness across the country."