HEALTH organisations across North Yorkshire do not follow recommended guidelines set out to help couples conceive.

The number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England offering the National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence’s (NICE) recommendation of three IVF cycles to eligible women under 40 has halved in the last five years, according to figures from Fertility Fairness.

Just 12 per cent of CCGs around the country follow the guidelines - down from 24 per cent in 2013, and the number of CCGs which have axed NHS IVF has almost doubled in the last year.

Only one cycle is offered to would-be mums aged between 23 and 39 by the Vale of York CCG, and they must have been trying to conceive for two years.

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, said: “Fertility Fairness is calling for full implementation of the NICE guidelines, standardisation of eligibility criteria across England and the development of a national tariff in England for tertiary fertility services - eliminating regional cost variants and removing a key barrier to CCGs’ compliance with national guidelines.”

A spokeswoman for the Vale of York CCG said: “In its move away from the North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust’s decision, the CCG is proud that it changed for the first time in several years, the commissioning position for the Vale of York and gave the green light to provide access to one cycle of IVF in 2014.”

NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG reduced its funding for IVF from three cycles to one earlier this year.

Dr George Campbell, local GP and governing body member of the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, said: “Previously, the CCG has fully adopted the NICE guidelines recommending funding of three cycles, given financial constraints, we are no longer able to do this in full. Many other CCGs locally and nationally have already taken this decision as they are required to look at financial sustainability.”

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week, and Fertility Fairness released a league table of the best and worst places to live in England for ability to access NHS IVF treatment, with North Yorkshire’s CCGs joint 12th (East Riding, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby, Harrogate and Rural District, Scarborough and Ryedale) and 13th (Vale of York), out of a possible 17 places. Susan Seenan, co-chair of Fertility Fairness and chief executive of patient charity Fertility Network UK, said: “The Government should be ashamed that, after 40 years of IVF, it is your postcode and your pay packet, and not your medical need, which are the key determinants of whether you will be able to try IVF.”