The first ever “test tube” baby, Louise Brown, reached the age of 40 this year. IVF treatment has brought more than 8 million babies into the world since she was born in 1978, but fertility treatment has changed a lot over the decades.
The Biggest Changes in IVF Treatment
Fertility treatment has changed in many ways since 1978. Many of the biggest changes are in the way that people think about fertility and IVF:
It isn’t just the way that we think about IVF that have changed over the last four decades. The techniques that we use during IVF treatment have also been improved over time:
All of these changes have had a big impact on the experiences of patients who are undergoing fertility treatment. The success rate of IVF has also increased, from around 10% to about 40% per cycle, on average.
The Future of Fertility Treatment
IVF treatment has come a long way since it was first used 40 years ago, but we still have a lot to learn about fertility and the techniques that we use now can be improved even more. Researchers are exploring many different aspects of fertility, from the impact of pollution and other environmental factors, to the way that the embryo interacts with the womb lining. As we learn more and continue to develop new fertility treatments, we will be able to help even more people to create and grow their families.
Many people in the UK have been able to conceive through IVF treatment, but it isn’t always easy to access this kind of care. Although fertility treatment is available for some couples through the NHS, there are limits on who can have this treatment and how many cycles will be covered.
Are You Eligible for IVF Treatment?
If you’re considering your options for IVF treatment in the UK, then you may be thinking about having it through the NHS. The national guidelines state that you should be eligible for the following treatments if tests show that IVF is the best option for you:
However, there may be other requirements in your area as each NHS trust can have its own guidelines too. Additional criteria might include:
The eligibility requirements in some areas have become very strict as many NHS trusts have been struggling to maintain their services due to issues with funding. In some areas, the age limit for women can be as low as 35. If you live in an area with stricter eligibility requirements or you’ve already completed the maximum number of IVF cycles available through the NHS, then you may need to consider other options for fertility treatment.
Private Fertility Treatment in the UK
One option if you aren’t able to access fertility treatment through the NHS is to visit a private IVF clinic instead. You can do this after having as many cycles as you can through the NHS or do it right away. Private clinics may set their own eligibility criteria for IVF treatment, but these won’t usually be as strict as the NHS requirements. For example, they may ask you to have some tests to check that IVF is the most suitable treatment, but they will usually provide care as long as you’re making a fully informed choice while understanding the chances of success.
Going Overseas for Fertility Treatment
Having private treatment in the UK isn’t always the right option for everyone, especially as it can be expensive. Travelling overseas for IVF treatment can be a better choice if you want to keep the costs down when you aren’t able to access the NHS services.
We have helped many people to access private care in the UK or overseas. Even if you aren’t able to meet the eligibility requirements for NHS fertility treatment in your area, you can still have IVF. Many people who weren’t able to have fertility treatment on the NHS have still been able to become parents after having private IVF in the UK or overseas.