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Childless couples are facing a widening postcode lottery after NHS officials ordered GPs to slash the amount of fertility treatment on offer to cut costs, stark new figures show.
Women in some areas are being denied access to the treatment altogether while others are facing new restrictions which appear to flout national guidelines.
One in five local Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) said they had cut the number of IVF procedures they had funded over the past three years, the study by the health magazine, Pulse, found.
'We never gave up hope': Parents celebrate arrival of baby girl after spending £100,000 on EIGHT rounds of IVF
After spending tens of thousands of pounds over the best part of a decade on seven failed IVF courses, the experts were clear on one thing - Sarah Francis would never have a baby.
Researchers believe the increased threat may come from the body rejecting donated eggs or underlying health problems that may come to the fore during artificial conception.
They want increased vigilance so that the exact nature of the risk can be calculated.
"Women should be counselled and made aware of the risks they are taking and deaths should be properly reported," Professor Didi Braat at Radboud University in the Netherlands told the Sunday Times.
Prof Braat looked at the deaths between 1984 and 2008 in the Netherlands but believes they will apply to any developed country.
The current guidance says all infertile women aged between 23 and 39 should be offered three cycles of treatment for free on the NHS, however few Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) meet this in full.
NICE is currently reviewing the guidelines to make sure that they comply with the Equality Act passed by the previous Government which promised to end many types of discrimination.
A 59 year-old woman has backed out of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment at the last minute, as she feels the risks at her age are too great. Susan Tollefsen said she was worried after she nearly died following ill-effects from her previous IVF-enabled birth.
'We've basically decided the risks are too great and I'm too old. My advice to older women wanting children is don't risk it', said Mrs Tollefsen, a retired teacher.
Sex may become redundant as a method of conceiving babies as couples routinely turn to IVF, scientists have predicted. They say thirtysomethings will increasingly rely on artificial methods of fertilisation because natural human reproduction is 'fairly inefficient'. It means that in future, sex will be nothing more than a leisure activity - hammering a further nail into the Christian idea that the role of sex is to produce children.
When we venture into the world of IVF and assisted reproduction, many of us are overwhelmed by the sheer number of consent forms that we have to sign - and that does not include all of the other legal contracts. Yet, I often see patients not even reading what they are signing - or they sign just as the procedure is about to happen. With this story below, I cannot impress upon each one of you enough how IMPORTANT it is to read the informed consents ahead of time.