IVF on the NHS and the Ecigarette Lottery
If you’re trying for a baby and hoping for IVF on the NHS you may have to give up vaping…
A recent investigation by the Mail on Sunday showed that users of ecigarettes and those who use nicotine patches are being refused IVF treatment funded by the NHS in at east 16 health authorities across the country.
Whether it is a cost-cutting exercise or borne from a genuine belief that no amount of nicotine is safe during pregnancy is unclear.
Public Health England have declared vaping 95% safer than smoking, recently calling on doctors to advise ecigarettes to patients wanting to quit smoking. There is little research on the effects of vaping on unborn children or how it affects people’s chances of getting pregnant.
Many health authorities refuse to pay for IVF treatment to those whpo smoke or those who are obese.
Ten NHS Health Authorities across Greater Manchester have banned ecig and nicotine patch users from having funded IVF treatment while NHS authorities in West Suffolk, Horsham and Mid-Sussex , Crawley, Milton Keynes, Ipswich and Nene have also followed suit with a similar ban.
But the views are not consistent across the country with some authorities saying that there is just not enough evidence to suggest that vaping harms fertility and that it should be made available on the NHS.
Aileen Feeney, of charity Fertility Network, told the Sun newspaper: “This is another example of how health bosses are trying to ration NHS fertility services by introducing arbitrary access criteria.”