People across the East Midlands are being asked for their views on proposals to introduce a new Gamete and Embryo Cryopreservation Policy. This will give more people the opportunity to have their sperm, eggs or embryos frozen for possible use at a later date, if they are about to have treatment which could cause permanent infertility.
This service, which is called cryopreservation, is already available on the NHS to many patients who are having cancer treatment, and it is proposed to extend the service to patients undergoing other procedures, including gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
Why are we doing this?
The new policy has been developed following guidance from NHS England, which states that fertility preservation services should be made equally available to all patients whose medical or surgical treatment may make them infertile.
There are a number of important treatments which can result in permanent infertility. By collecting and freezing sperm, eggs or fertilised eggs, the patient has the opportunity to try and have children, later on, who are biologically related to them. We already offer that choice to cancer patients if their treatment is likely to cause infertility.
All of the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the East Midlands, who make decisions on which services are offered in each area, have come together to make sure that people across the region are offered the same access to fertility preservation services wherever they live.
A public consultation process has started, where people can share their views about the proposed policy before a final decision is made. If approved, the policy will ensure a standard approach is used for patients throughout the East Midlands. This consultation is being led by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group on behalf of the 16 CCGs in the East Midlands.
We want to make sure that the new Gamete and Embryo Cryopreservation Policy works well for everyone. We want to know what people think about the policy and if there are any aspects we need to consider further, or other groups of patients which we may have overlooked.
How to take part
The survey is available online here.
The policy document is available here.
The FAQs are available here.
Paper copies of the survey are also available. Please call 01332 868 700 if you would like a copy.
The survey is open until Sunday March 1 2020.
Department of health national consultation
The Department of Health has also launched a separate national consultation which asks for views on the time limits for freezing gametes https://dhsc.surveyoptic.com/gamete-storage-limits
The Department of Health’s consultation asks people specifically for their views on whether the Government should make changes to the length of storage for eggs, sperm and embryos being stored for fertility treatment. This includes storage for social reasons, for example where people wish to delay having children.
The policy that the CCGs are consulting on in the East Midlands applies only to people who are about to have NHS funded treatment which could cause permanent infertility. The new East Midlands policy would mean that fertility preservation services are made equally available to all patients whose medical or surgical treatment may make them infertile.
If, as a result of the Department of Health consultation, a decision is made at national level to increase the standard storage period of 10 years, the East Midlands policy will be reviewed in the light of this decision.