Fertility treatment under threat

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The Birmingham Health Authority is proposing to stop assisted- conception treatment on the NHS unless there are exceptional medical or social circumstances, in a bid to reduce spending.

The plan, which would mean that most childless couples in the area would have to seek help from private organisations, has the backing of local public opinion which, according to a recent survey, sees fertility treatment as expensive and low priority. Dr Jacky Chambers, Director of Public Health, will present a paper to the Birmingham Health Authority this week, recommending that the authority backs the recent survey which concluded that routine NHS funding of fertility treatment should cease. Most people interviewed for the survey said cancer treatment should be well-funded, and saw assisted- conception services as the having the lowest priority.