Women struggling to have babies should be offered IVF treatment into their early 40s, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said.
Nice, which looks at the cost effectiveness of treatments, believes women up to 42 should be entitled to the treatment. The body’s current guidance, drawn up in 2004, sets the limit at 39.
But in a new consultation document, Nice raises the age and also says IVF should be offered to gay and lesbian couples as well as those with Hepatitis B or HIV.
Nice deputy chief Dr Gill Leng said: “Infertility is a medical condition that can cause significant distress for those trying to have a baby. This distress can have a real impact on people’s lives, potentially leading to depression and the breakdown of relationships.
“However, in many cases infertility can be treated effectively – there are thousands of babies and happy parents thanks to NHS fertility treatment – which is why the NHS provides services and why Nice produces guidance on the topic.”