HC Deb 08 July 1994 vol 246 cc370-1W
Mr. Burden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to collect information from district health authorities regarding their policies on the purchase of in vitro fertilisation treatment, and the number of district health authorities who currently provide IVF treatment.

Mr. Sackville

There are no plans to collect information centrally on the purchase or provision by district health authorities of in vitro fertilisation treatment.

Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her Department's policy on the limiting by health authorities of IVF treatment to women of 34 years and under.

Mr. Sackville

Decisions about the availability of IVF treatment are for individual health authorities. Advice is available to health authorities and clinicians in two publications drawn to the attention of the National Health Service in 1992:

  1. (a) The Effective Health Care Bulletin on management of subfertility, published for the NHS Management Executive by a consortium of Leeds and York universities and the research unit of the Royal College of Physicians.
  2. (b) The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists publication "Infertility—Guidelines For Practice".

Copies of both publications are available in the Library.

Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the effects on health experienced by couples unable to have children of their own;

(2) what analysis has been made of the implications of childlessness upon marriage stability in infertile couples;

(3) what information she has available on the effect on mental health in couples who are unable to have children of their own.

Mr. Sackville

There have been studies on the effects of childlessness in couples carried out by independent researchers, some of which are referred to in the Effective Health Care bulletin series entitled "The Management of Subfertility". The position is summarised as follows: There is some evidence that subfertility causes considerable emotional stress and distress in some couples, which effects many areas of their life. Subfertility may result in social handicap preventing fulfilment of social roles and realisation of personal and societal expectations for parenthood.

The bulletin was made available to the national health service in 1992. Copies are available in the Library.

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