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Nurses to lobby government over IVF

Nurses have demanded action from the government to ensure infertile women are given three cycles of IVF on the NHS.

They blasted the postcode lottery, which sees some women able to have free fertility treatment while others are forced to pay.

In 2004, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said women should be given three cycles of IVF on the NHS in England.

Then health secretary John Reid promised one cycle each, but stopped short of setting out a timetable for when the NHS would implement the full guideline to give women three chances.

A survey of primary care trusts by the Department of Health released last year showed that few trusts have implemented the NICE guideline in full.

Nurses are to lobby the government to guarantee NHS trusts implement the guidance.

Jane Denton, from the Royal College of Nursing's fertility group, told the annual conference in Bournemouth: "At a personal level it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge a problem.

"It discourages me that even now when people go forward for treatment it's an enormous battle every step of the way.

"It adds to the pain and what many see as the stigma of infertility. The importance of the Nice guidance is essential."

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Do you think infertile women should be offered three cycles of IVF? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"The NHS is not a money making entity funding for all will always be problematic. Some priorities have to be made. Rationing is inevitable whether it be in IVF or otherwise. We need to recognise and accept there are things in life that we desire and require but are not always what we best need. For me the contributors to the funds for the NHS should have a say on this important issue and not just the receivers' potential and/or current." - V Henry, London

"Subfertility is not an illness and we have no absolute right to become parents, though of course it's often a very strong human instinct to have children. NHS money is limited and so care must of course be rationed - how can we possibly justify spending money helping people to have children at the expense of those needing life-saving drugs or surgery? And in case it's relevant I'm someone who has struggled with subfertility for many years. Yes of course I did wish my PCT would pay for treatment but understood why it could/would not. Luckily, against all the odds I conceived naturally." - Name and address supplied