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Question

Is it possible to receive free IVF fertility treatment in the UK?

There are two main routes to free IVF treatment in the UK. However, neither is without issues and problems.

The most obvious way to have free IVF treatment is to have the procedure on the NHS. Indeed, many hospitals throughout the UK do offer free IVF care to women aged between 23 and 39.

However, there is something of an IVF postcode lottery in existence at the moment. Not everyone will be able to receive free treatment. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that hospitals should offer couples up to three cycles of free IVF treatment.

But few hospitals provide three cycles of treatment and many don't even provide one. And even if you're lucky enough to live near a hospital offering free fertility care, you may be required to wait many months before receiving treatment as IVF waiting lists can be very long.

The second route to receive free IFV treatment in the UK is to either donate an egg or sperm to a private clinic. In return for your donation, clinics will provide you one or more cycles of IVF at no charge. For example, The London Women's Clinic offers IVF treatment at little financial cost if you are willing to donate your eggs to an anonymous recipient. The clinic has centres in London, Darlington, Cardiff and Swansea. For more information, visit their dedicated egg sharing website at www.eggsharing.com.

However, before you rush out to donate your eggs or sperm, you should give considerable thought to the moral issues of such a donation. In a few years you could essentially have a child running around, of whom you will know absolutely nothing about.

What does egg donation with IVF actually involve?

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