The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) could be on the verge of doing away with its controversial recommendation for an age limit of 40 years for women seeking IVF treatments on the NHS.
If this age limit is done away with, then infertile women will be given the free treatments based solely on tests that estimate the number of eggs available in their ovaries.
Advertisement"I think measuring ovarian reserve [the number of eggs a woman has] is a better way to make rationing decisions than age, but I would be concerned if any women interpreted this as meaning that age is not the key factor which determines their chances," said Clare Lewis-Jones, chief executive of the Infertility Network.
Current guidance offers IVF treatment for women aged 23-39 years. However these rules have been called discriminating and hence NICE is considering new guidance on the age limits.
Another guidance that could be scrapped is denial of IVF treatment for women whose partners already have children.
While the new guidance has been welcomed by one and all, Alison McTavish, secretary of the British Fertility Society has urged caution, "If you have to take decisions about rationing, age is a pretty good predictor of outcomes. Doing specialist tests on women to check their ovarian reserve, and investigations is a very expensive way of trying to make the system fair," she told The Sunday Telegraph.