Fertility treatment now available for women up to 40
Fertility treatment can now be given to women up to the age of 40, it emerged at a meeting of Shetland NHS Board on Tuesday.
Director of public health Sarah Taylor said new guidelines from the Scottish government brought Scotland into line with England and Wales.
Previously fertility treatment could only be given to women up to their 38th birthday. Now women can be treated up to their 40th birthday and if a woman is in the middle of a cycle of treatment, frozen embryos can be used after her birthday.
Fertility treatment has been available in Shetland for more than a decade, with advanced treatments such IVF and Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) being funded since 1996. These techniques are used when simpler medical and surgical treatments (available locally) are not successful.
Since 2004/5 an average of five couples per year have been accepted for services such as IVF and GIFT, which are provided by the Assisted Reproduction Unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
According to statistics, the raising of the age limit will probably mean one extra couple being accepted every two years. It is estimated that additional resources to comply with the national guidance will be a maximum of £15,000 per year, to be found from within the existing overall service budget.