Good Morning Britain sparks debate over whether single women should get IVF on the NHS

21 August 2019, 15:06 | Updated: 21 August 2019, 15:17

Mared Parry

By Mared Parry

The debate has absolutely split opinion on the controversial NHS policy.

A furious debate has unfolded folllowing the highlighting of an NHS policy that allows single women to be denied IVF if they don't have a partner.

The findings have come to light over the past few days, as NHS South East London, which is a partnership of six clinical commissioning groups and five hospital trusts, no longer offers IVF to single women, claiming they place a “burden on society”.

READ MORE: Sperm seperation technique could allow for IVF gender selection

Single mums apparently place a burden on society
Single mums apparently place a burden on society. Picture: Getty

Good Morning Britain touched on the debate this morning and invited presenter Ashley James and controversial broadcaster Anne Atkins to argue their opposing opinions.

Ashley stated that she thinks taxpaying single women should have the same access to IVF as couples, but Anne Atkins argued that the NHS should not be funding treatments that are not health-related.

Anne Atkins is no stranger to a controversial comment
Anne Atkins is no stranger to a controversial comment. Picture: ITV

All of this has spurred from the controversial NHS South East London policy, which has been branded "outdated”, as it directly contradicts The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines that say women under 40 should be offered three cycles of NHS IVF if they have not conceived naturally after two years of trying.

The guidelines make absolutely zero reference to relationship status and whether or not that should affect a woman's right to receive IVF if they wish to have it.

The NHS as a whole's policy completely contradicts NHS South East London's
The NHS as a whole's policy completely contradicts NHS South East London's. Picture: PA

However, NHS South East London's policy requires women to be in a “stable relationship” before undergoing treatment, report The Sunday Times.

The Good Morning Britain segment on the debate completely divided viewers, with many speaking out on Twitter, airing their passionate opinions on the matter.

One said: "NHS should be for saving lives and treating health issues not for personal treatments like IVF, cosmetic surgery etc etc. If you want these things then pay for them privately."

However, another agreed with Ashley's view, and argued: "If couples can access it then single women should be able to.

"If we want to stick to only health related issues on the NHS, then fair enough, but this should apply to couples too."

In a statement, the South East London Commissioning Alliance said: “Infertility is a condition that requires investigation, management and treatment in accordance with national guidance.

“As part of the provision of prevention, treatment and care, south east London commissioners are committed to ensuring that access to NHS fertility services is provided fairly and consistently within the limited resources we have available.”

They also said the policy would be reviewed and updated on a “regular basis”.