Assisted Conception

Assisted Conception

Home » Our work » Transformation » Clinical Policy Alignment (formerly Difficult Decisions) » Assisted Conception

24 February 2023

In December 2023, the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board (ICB) Board agreed an interim aligned assisted conception policy for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

On this page, you can read about:

  • why we reviewed the previous policies
  • why we have developed an ‘interim’ policy
  • how we involved the public and NHS staff in considering our proposals.

commissioning policy: Assisted conception for infertility

Why we needed to review our previous policies for assisted conception services

When Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB was created, there were different policies in place for assisted conception services in different parts of our area.  This meant the criteria for accessing these services were different depending on where you lived. For fairness, we wanted to align the policies (make them the same) across our area.

We started this work in 2020, as part of a bigger programme called Clinical Policy Alignment (previously called Difficult Decisions)While we were working on our recommendations, the Women’s Health Strategy for England (WHS) was released. This is a 10-year strategy, which will include a review of fertility services across England. We also expect updated NICE guidance on fertility treatments at the end of 2024.

As we would not know the results of these reviews for some time, we decided to develop an interim aligned policy for assisted conception. The interim policy would make the criteria for accessing assisted conception services the same, wherever you live within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Later, when the wider reviews of fertility services and treatments have taken place, we will look at any updated guidance that comes out. We will then see whether our policy needs to be changed in any way.

How were people able to get involved?

In March 2023, we asked people for their views and comments on our proposed interim aligned policy. 

We provided the participants with a draft policy document and details of the proposed changes to criteria for assisted conception services. The resources below were also shared so that everyone could have information about the proposed policy and the reasons for the proposed changes.

A key part of the involvement was the survey, which was available online on our involvement webpages. An accessible (easy read) version of the survey was also available.

There were two online events, held on 15 and 20 March 2023.

Involvement findings

You can read the full report of findings from the 2023 involvement, or the summary report.

Our clinicians and managers reviewed the full report and considered the feedback while they worked to finalise the interim policy. The policy then went through the ICB’s robust, established governance process, before going to the ICB Board for a final decision.

On Thursday 21 December 2023, the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB Board were presented with all the findings of the work done and asked to approve the recommendation.

Following discussions, the Board approved the recommendation to implement the interim aligned assisted conception policy across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The finalised policy

The new interim aligned policy will come into effect from 1 February 2024, and does not impact anybody currently receiving treatment within a specialist fertility provider (tertiary services) as part of the former CCG policies.

commisioning policy: Assisted conception for infertility.