9. Archived: Stage 1 Fertility Policies Review public documentation

Fertility Medicines and Treatments

There are a range of medicines and treatments available that can help people to conceive, many of which are NHS-funded. Some are provided via a person’s GP and some from fertility clinics.

Everyone’s fertility ‘journey’ will differ depending on personal circumstances. However, many people start by speaking to their GP – who may undertake, or refer a person or couple for, initial investigations. These can include blood tests, sperm-testing and scans.

A couple or individual may be referred by their GP onto a fertility clinic (usually based at a local hospital) that can prescribe medicines and offer a range of treatments. One of the most widely known treatments is in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) but, in fact, only a small proportion of people who have difficulty conceiving will need a treatment such as IVF.

North Central London Fertility Policies

Most CCGs in England have a fertility policy. Typically, this policy will set out:

  • Which fertility treatments (e.g. IVF, intrauterine insemination) and other services (e.g. sperm washing for men living with HIV, freezing of eggs, sperm or embryos for people undergoing treatment that may affect their future fertility) are funded by the NHS to patients in that area
  • The eligibility criteria patients must meet to receive be referred for these fertility treatments (e.g. age, smoking status).

In North Central London, there are five fertility policies in place – one for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington. This is because, before the formation of the NCL CCG this year, each CCG had its own policy. These can be found in the document library section below.

Each of our fertility policies outlines treatments we fund, and eligibility criteria for these, in each borough. Treatments covered include:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • Assisted conception treatments (for example, IVF or IUI) using donated oocytes or sperm
  • Fertility preservation for patients who are about to have medical treatment such as chemotherapy that will affect their future fertility (egg, embryo or sperm storage)
  • Surgical sperm retrieval
  • Sperm washing (for people with blood borne viruses such as HIV)
  • Assisted conception treatments involving surrogates.

NCL CCG commissions four NHS Trusts to provide these services and treatments. Residents that are eligible will be referred by their GP to one of these Trusts, depending on the borough they live in:

  • Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Developing a single NCL CCG Fertility Policy

Our current Fertility Policies were developed a number of years ago by the CCG in each borough, and there are some variations between the five policies. Now we have formed one NCL CCG, we have commenced work to develop one new fertility policy for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

This will be done in two stages:

  1. The first stage is the NCL CCG Fertilities Policy Review. No decisions will be taken at this stage, but a set of recommendations will be developed.
  2. The second stage will be the development of the policy. The recommendations from the Review will inform the final policy.

A Steering Group has formed to lead the NCL CCG Fertilities Policies Review. The Group has a clinical Chair, and its membership includes other clinicians, commissioners and two Community Members (a resident and a representative from the Fertility Network UK).

We will also seek the views of local NHS specialists and clinicians (e.g. GPs), residents and fertility service users, local Healthwatch and a range of other organisations in each borough.

The Review will look at:

  • Latest scientific literature, clinical evidence and best practice
  • National and regional guidance, and other CCG policies
  • North Central London data – estimated number of patients experiencing fertility problems and accessing fertility treatments, types of treatments accessed, outcomes data for the clinics used by our populations, expenditure by the CCG
  • The potential impact of changing policies for residents in our boroughs, especially for protected characteristics groups (defined by the Equality Act 2010).

If you have any questions about the Fertility Policies Review or would like to contact us.

Find out more about this Review in our Leaflet.

FAQs will be updated on a regular basis.

Find out more about the Fertility Policies review by downloading this leaflet and questionnaire.