Fertility treatment: the lowdown
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Basic facts

Basic facts

Fertility treatment has been around for many years; the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. It is subject to regulations, but countries such as Belguim or Switzerland have more liberal laws.

Access to fertility treatment is still something of a postcode lottery in the UK: depending on where you live, there are varying levels of access and waiting lists of varying lengths.

> Fertility assessment is available to everyone. Fertility treatment is available to couples who live together and have been in a stable relatioship for three years.

> Three courses of IVF are available on the NHS (though this may vary according to where you live) for women aged between 23 and 39.

> Private clinics charge an average of £2000 - £3000 per course of IVF treatment, and the waiting lists are much shorter.

> Fertility treatment can also be used in the case of serious heriditary illness such as cystic fibrosis. IVF can be used (genetic screening followed by implantation of the fertilised egg in the uterus).

> Menopausal women and homosexual couples are currently not eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS.

After testing both partners, a doctor will decide if you are a suitable candidate for fertility treatment. Often fertility drugs are prescribed, and other methods are an option if the drugs don't work.


Sarah Horrocks
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