Have your say on the Draft Health Inequalities Strategy

News from Unmesh Desai: Inequalities in IVF treatment must be tackled

02 August 2019

Local Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai AM, is urging action to tackle inequalities in IVF treatment across London. Mr Desai has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking him to raise this issue with London’s CCGs in his capacity as Chair of the London Health Board. He has also urged the Mayor to report on what steps NHS organisations are taking to allow delivery of three full cycles of IVF across London.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Health Excellence (NICE) recommend three full IVF cycles (three fresh cycles plus any subsequent frozen cycles) as being the most cost effective and clinically effective way to treat infertility.

However, Londoners currently face huge variations in their ability to access three full cycles, with most CCGs only offering one cycle per person. Freedom of Information requests revealed that within London only Camden follows NICE guidance fully. As such, currently only 26% of all London cycles are NHS funded.

The issue of unequal provision of IVF treatment was first raised with Mr Desai by a local constituent.

Local Assembly Member Unmesh Desai, said:

“All Londoners deserve the right to be able to try for a family, regardless of their ability to pay for private treatment. The current postcode lottery regarding access to IVF provision through the NHS in London is a stark injustice, and with one in six couples affected by infertility, is something that must be rectified as a matter of urgency.

“The inability to access IVF treatment has been shown to have severely detrimental impacts on mental health. We’ve also heard of people travelling abroad for cheaper private treatment under different regulatory systems, resulting in higher instances of risky multiple births.  

“I have written to the Mayor asking that he raises this issue with the London Health Board and I hope that our CCGs are able to work quickly towards full provision of IVF treatment across London.”


Notes to editors

  • A copy of the letter can be found attached;


  • Freedom of Information (FOI) data on the IVF treatment offered by London CCGs can be found attached;


  • Unmesh Desai AM is the London Assembly Member for City and East

For more information please contact Research Support Officer, Nicholas Wilson, on 020 7983 4401. Number not for publication.

Share this page