Call to extend free IVF to gay couples and women over 40

Same-sex couples and women over 40 should be allowed access to free fertility treatment on the NHS, a health watchdog has said in draft guidance.

Critics say it is too expensive at a time of public sector cuts, and the NHS should not “kowtow” to political correctness.

In its draft guidance the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) say lesbian couples should be referred for further investigation and full IVF once they have gone through six attempts with donor sperm.


Also in the guidance, which is currently subject to consultation, NICE say the present age limit of 39 should be raised to 42 for women who have no other chance of conceiving.

But Josephine Quintavalle, director of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “The NHS does not have enough money to go round.”

She added that, “just because someone’s sexual persuasion does not allow them to have children does not mean we have to kowtow to political correctness”.

Gedis Grudzinskas, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at a major London hospital, also raised questions about the move in light of the current “economic predicament”.


Last June it emerged that dozens of women were aborting their children after having IVF to conceive them.

One obstetrics professor expressed shock at the news, saying each abortion was a “tragedy”.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) revealed that around 80 abortions a year are carried out on women who conceived by IVF, following a Freedom of Information request.

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