A proposal to cut the number of IVF cycles offered to some women in Epping Forest has been defended by health bosses.

The West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) is considering cutting the number of cycles offered to women aged between 23 and 39 from three to two.

However, The National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC) has called for a rethink, claiming a reduction would fall short of the current NICE clinical guidance.

But the WECCG says the cuts to services will allow for more same-sex couples, older women and people with a disability to have a better chance of conception.

Dr Christine Moss, clinical director at WECCG, said: “National lobby groups may be looking to criticise individual CCGs, however, WECCG is concerned about the views of our local residents and how the changes will impact them.

“Our proposals are about making the money go around, ensuring we listen to our patients and responding accordingly”

NIAC chairwoman Susan Seenan said that WECCG should learn from its counterparts in Hertfordshire, which agreed to stick to three.

She said: “We strongly encourage West Essex CCG to retain the 3 full cycles of IVF they currently offer.”

“It has been proven to be the most clinically and cost effective number for commissioners to offer on the NHS.

“Given the length of time that has transpired since, it would be incredibly disappointing to see the provision decrease.

“Other regions have achieved this and it is what patients expect of their health service.”

If you would like to comment on the proposed changes, please visit www.westessexccg.nhs.uk Final proposals will be presented at a board meeting in July.