No IVF for woman with stepson, 20

Susie Henson Ms Henson said PCTs interpreted national guidelines to suit themselves A woman from Nottingham is angry at a decision to deny her NHS-funded fertility treatment, due to her partner having a 20-year-old son.

Susie Henson, 33, from Mapperley, was advised by her GP to seek help with conceiving a child due to long-standing fertility problems.

At her first appointment at the Queen’s Medical Centre she was told she would have to pay for IVF treatment.

The East Midlands Commissioning Group said it could not comment on this case.

‘Waste of money’

In a statement, Sharon Beamish, director of the East Midlands Commissioning Group – the organisation which works with primary care trusts to decide who will receive specialist treatment on the NHS – said she recognised “the difficult personal circumstances” faced by some couples.

“Our policy for IVF treatment covers the population of all nine PCT areas in the East Midlands,” she said.

“It is based on fair and specific criteria which ensures equitable access to IVF services across the East Midlands for thousands of people.”

But Ms Henson said PCTs were interpreting government guidelines to suit themselves.

“My partner has a 20-year-old son, I have never met him and he is not a child.

“I feel as if I have been discriminated against by the NHS. In some parts of the country a man can have up to four children from previous relationships.

‘Step in’

“The government sets guidelines but the PCTs interpret them, doing things their own way.

“Why is the government wasting money setting these guidelines if PCTs are going to ignore them? The government needs to step in to make it fair.”

Criteria in the East Midlands for one round of NHS-funded IVF treatment states the woman must have “no living children from current or previous relationships including adopted children but excluding foster children”.

The government states it remains committed to the full implementation of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines on the provision of IVF, which recommends that up to three cycles of IVF are offered to eligible couples.

Ms Henson said she would not give up and has arranged a meeting with her local MP, Vernon Coaker.

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