Light drinkers denied IVF to save NHS cash

Wannabe mums who drink fewer than two glasses of wine a day are being potentially discounted for IVF…

Wine - News - Marie Claire
Wine - News - Marie Claire

Wannabe mums who drink fewer than two glasses of wine a day are being potentially discounted for IVF…

Women who drink fewer than two glasses of wine a day could be denied free IVF as NHS trusts impose strict rules on who gets fertility treatment.

Even those who barely drink at all could be turned down if their partners are deemed to be exceeding recommended alcohol limits.

Health trusts insist they are simply following Department of Health guidelines that warn against excessive drinking, particularly in pregnancy. But experts have accused them of discriminating solely to save money.

Up to one in five of the 66 Primary Care Trusts in England say they would refuse treatment to couples if either of them drink more than the Department of Health’s recommended weekly limit of 14 units for women and 21 for men.

And in response to a Daily Mail Freedom of Information request, many more said that although there was no specific alcohol policy, doctors could refuse IVF if they believed patients were drinking too much. Infertile couples are entitled tothree cycles of free fertility treatmenton the NHS, which costs around £2,500 a course. To qualify, women must meet strict criteria, including being under 39 and not having a child from a previous relationship.

Many trusts will also turn them down if they are obese or smoke, as both are believed to reduce the chance of conception. But fertility experts say there is no evidence that drinking slightly more than a moderate amount makes IVF any less successful.

Stephen Davies, a GP and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said: ‘This is very unfair. There is no evidence that drinking before IVF reduces its chance of success. They are simply looking at ways of cutting back their spending.'

What do you think? Is it necessary to impose such strict criteria for women seeking IVF or is it simply a way of cost-cutting? Let us know b posting a comment below…


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