Decisions on access criteria for national health service-funded in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment are made locally by individual primary care trusts (PCTs), taking into account local considerations.
The fertility guideline published in 2004 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations about the clinical criteria for access to NHS-funded fertility treatment. To support PCTs in working towards the implementation of the NICE guideline and more equitable provision, the Government funded the leading fertility patient support group, Infertility Network UK (IN UK), to draw up standard access criteria as a guideline. The Standardised Infertility Access Criteria were published by IN UK in June 2009, alongside a guide for commissioners in developing their services.
The Access Criteria recommend that PCTs should move towards a position where funding is available for those who do not have a living child, including couples where one partner is childless. It also explains that as investment in fertility services increases, funding may be available for IVF where both partners have a child/children from a pervious relationship, but not from the current relationship.