On the Agenda: Women over 40 to be offered IVF

Women over the age of 40 are to be allowed IVF treatment through the NHS for the first time, as a result of updated guidelines.

In more detail
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its updated guidelines on fertility treatment last week, advising that women between the ages of 40 and 42 should be offered one round of IVF through the NHS if they have not previously received it. Previously, this was denied to women over the age of 39. In addition, women who have been unable to conceive naturally will qualify for IVF after two years, rather than three.

PR strategy
NICE wrote a comprehensive comms plan at the start of the guidelines’ development, which included strategies to contain any potential media speculation before publication of the updated guideline. An embargoed press conference was held two days before publication, with a release made available for the day of publication.

Media coverage
The story was covered by all the main broadcasters throughout the day, including the BBC, which also ran it as the lead health story on its website. More than 50 broadcast interviews were conducted by the institute’s spokespeople and the story was splashed in The Guardian. It was also covered by The Independent, The Times, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and Daily Mirror.

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