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Wirral IVF funding cuts 'cruel', say fertility campaigners

egg injected with sperm Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption NHS Wirral is cutting funding for IVF services to tackle a £12m deficit

A decision to reduce the number of IVF cycles available on the NHS in part of Merseyside has been described by campaigners as "cruel".

Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is cutting some non-urgent treatments to tackle its £12m deficit.

Dr Paula Cowan said: "We need to do what's best for our 300,000 patients and not just a small group."

Fertility campaigners said cutting IVF cycles from three to two was "shattering" for any couples affected.

Catherine Hill, from Fertility Fairness, said: "Access to three full cycles of IVF offers them the best possible chance of success of having a baby and that's why it's the nationally recommended treatment."

"Denying them access to the nationally recommended treatment because of where they live is cruel, it's unethical."

As well as reducing the number of IVF treatments for eligible couples, the CCG is also introducing IVF restrictions based on the BMI and smoking status of both partners.

Barring medical exemptions, the CCG also decided to stop routine funding of some other procedures, including:-

  • excess hair removal
  • breast reduction surgery for both men and women
  • removal of benign skin lesions
  • male sterilisation (vasectomy) under general anaesthetic

Despite concerns from arthritis groups, the CCG has agreed to continue funding knee replacement surgery.

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