The service was previously taken off in 2017 on a temporary basis, but in August 2019 it was removed permanently. Meanwhile, neighbouring county East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG offers one cycle of IVF treatment for women aged 19 to 30.
Following the start of the campaign 'Fight for IVF' launched by Amber Izzo and Hayley Dean, MPs Paul Bristow (Peterborough) and Shailesh Vara (North-west Cambridgeshire) have collaborated with five other MPs across Cambridgeshire to implore the CCG to put the service back on the NHS.
They wrote a letter addressed to Jan Thomas, the Accountable Officer for the CCG, which was also signed by the MPs for NE Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, Huntingdon, SE Cambridgeshire, and Cambridge, asking that the group reinstates IVF services for the county
They said: "Currently, the CCG is one of only three in the country that fails to offer any fertility support on the NHS. Our constituents are being denied access to fertility services, which we believe to be an unacceptable situation.
"As you will be aware, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have issued guidelines on services, which state that women under the age of 40 who suffer from infertility should have access to three NHS cycles of fertility treatment.
"Last year, a Health Minister wrote to remind you that 'CCGs have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services that meet the needs of their whole population, including fertility services.'
"Moreover, prior to your decision to end services in 2017, a consultation showed that 80% of respondents were opposed."
The MPs continued to describe it as a "real issue" for their constituents, adding "we feel compelled to act".
In the letter, the MPs left the CCG with three questions, which were the following:
- Will you commit to reinstating NHS fertility services?
- Will you meet with Fight for IVF and other campaigners in Cambridgeshire?
- Will you write to us, detailing any assessment the CCG has undertaken on the impact of ceasing IVF services on mental health?
On the NHS website the information reads: "According to NICE, women aged under 40 should be offered 3 cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if:
- they've been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for 2 years
- they've not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination
It adds that CCGs may have additional criteria that you may need to meet before you can have IVF on the NHS, including not having any children already, being a healthy weight, not smoking and falling into a certain age range.
NICE recommends that three cycles of IVF should be offered on the NHS, but some CCGs only offer one cycle, or they only offer NHS-funded IVF in exceptional circumstances.
A spokesman for the CCG previously said: "At this moment in time, the CCG does not provide funding for specialist fertility services. Anyone with fertility problems can still go to their GP who can discuss the treatment options available to them. Couples can still be referred to hospital for further tests to investigate the cause of their infertility, and many of these causes can be successfully treated without the need to go on to have IVF."