Fertility Charities Slam Vapers’ IVF Blow
FERTILITY charities have slammed the NHS for refusing to give IVF to couples who use e-cigarettes – saying it is to save money.
Charity organisation Fertility Networks says the decision by at least 16 authorities across the UK to not help women who use tobacco replacement therapies is an example of how “arbitrary access criteria” is being used to cut costs.
Critics say it is unfair to refuse treatment to those who have switched from cigarettes to vaping or nicotine patches since there is no proof nicotine is harmful in pregnancy.
The policy has been drawn up by 16 NHS authorities, known as clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), according to a survey for The Mail on Sunday.
The CCGs that have introduced the measure include all ten in Greater Manchester as well as NHS Crawley, NHS Horsham and Mid-Sussex, NHS Ipswich and East Sussex, NHS West Suffolk, NHS Milton Keynes, and NHS Nene in Northamptonshire.
Of the 117 CCGs that responded to the survey, 101 said they had no e-cigarette restrictions in their IVF policies.
Some said they were considering changing their policies while others had no plans to do so.
The news comes despite Public Health England advising doctors to tell patients that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.
Aileen Feeney, of charity Fertility Network said: “This is another example of how health bosses are trying to ration NHS fertility services by introducing arbitrary access criteria.”
Health officials last year claimed e-cigarettes were 95 per cent safer than tobacco and GPs will soon be able to prescribe E-cigs alongside nicotine patches and gum to help smokers quit.
Public Health England has also reported vaping is 200 times less likely to cause cancer than smoking.