Call for IVF ban for obese women

Fertility experts have recommended that obese women should be denied IVF treatment unless they lose weight.

The British Fertility Society suggested that women who were classed as obese - defined as having a body mass index of over 29 - would have to lose weight before starting treatment.

The BFS's Richard Kennedy told the BBC that obese women were less likely to get pregnant and were more likely to encounter health problems.

The BFS also said that women over 40 should not receive NHS funded treatment. However, the society said that single women and same sex couples should receive the same treatment as heterosexual couples and those people who had children from previous relationships should also not be excluded from treatment.

The BFS also said that waiting times should be the same as for any other medical condition.

NHS guidelines state that women aged between 23 and 29 should be entitled to three cycles of IVF treatment. However, following a survey of fertility clinics in England and Wales, the BFS said that only one cycle was being offered in the vast majority of cases, with only 9% of respondents reporting the provision of two cycles of treatment.

The study also found that there was a wide disparity on the social criteria used for acceptance to receive NHS-funded treatment, especially regarding the people who had children from previous relationships, those with high BMIs and those who smoked.

For example, the study found that half of clinics said that their primary care trust would not fund treatment if either partner had had a child previously.

Mr Kennedy said: "There is considerable disparity across England and Wales in the commissioning arrangements relating to a range of social criteria applied for acceptance into NHS fertility programmes. If we are to see an end to inequity of access across the United Kingdom there must be an explicit plan for the provision of three fresh cycles of UVF and consistency in the criteria used for NHS treatment."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

10 August 2006
Woman dies after IVF treatment
A woman has died after receiving IVF treatment at a hospital in England, it has been confirmed. The woman, who has not been named, underwent routine IVF treatment at the Royal Leicester Infirmary last week. According to reports, the woman was sent home, but was later readmitted to hospital after apparently developing complications.
01 October 2003
Women lose right to save frozen embryos
Two women have lost a High Court bid to gain control over their frozen embryos without the consent of their former partners. Natallie Evans, 31, and Lorraine Hadley, 38, had been seeking the High Court to rule on whether they could complete an in vitro fertilization programme that had been commenced with former partners.
26 August 2003
NHS may offer free fertility treatment
Couples with infertility problems should not have to pay for fertility treatment from the NHS, according to recommendations from a government watchdog.
07 January 2005
Reid hails mobile treatment centres as success
According to a report published today more than 120,000 patients have been treated since the start of the government's pioneering Treatment Centre programme, in some cases up to eight times faster than traditional NHS providers.
17 February 2004
UK sees 20% increase in multiple births over 10 years
Mothers are having 20% more multiple births than they were a decade ago, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Statistics have revealed that in 2002, the multiple birth rate was 15 per 1,000 women giving birth, compared with 12.5 in 1992.