A COUNTY Durham MP has joined the fight to end ‘unjust’ and ‘outdated’ policies preventing some would-be parents access to fertility treatment on the NHS, after being moved by one couple’s story.

Following surgery, Klara Halpin is unable to conceive naturally with her partner Craig Longstaff but because he already has children they do not qualify for IVF treatment on the NHS.

The couple, from Bishop Auckland, worked with their GP and MP Dehenna Davison to appeal County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision but were turned down.

They have since raised nearly £4,000 through an online appeal to resume private treatment.

Having learnt of differing eligibility criteria across the UK, Miss Halpin has joined the Fight for IVF campaign which calls for an ‘end to the IVF postcode lottery’ and inspired Ms Davison get onboard.

Ms Davison has also lobbied health secretary Matt Hancock and raised the issue in parliament with health minister Nadine Dorries, during a Women’s Health Strategy debate.

The MP said: "I was really moved by Klara and Craig's story – the efforts they have gone through to try to access IVF in the face of overly strict eligibility criteria are admirable.

"The fact that, in 2021, couples are denied access to IVF because one of them has a child from a previous relationship is unjust and does not recognise the often complex family dynamics of modern Britain.

"I recently held a meeting with national campaign group Fight for IVF to discuss how I could help their campaign, I will continue to work cross-party with other County Durham MPs to get the local CCG to change their outdated eligibility criteria."

Miss Halpin, who shares her experiences on Instagram as @spillingtheinfertilitea, said: “Going through this I’ve learnt how unequal it is throughout the country and how few CCGs follow the NICE guidelines to offer women three rounds of IVF.

“I might not be able to change things for myself but hopefully by speaking out, and gathering support, in years to come things could change for other people.

“Fertility problems and IVF is a horrible, horrible thing to go through and very stressful, even without the added strain of getting funding. Access to treatment on the NHS needs to be as fair and supportive as possible.”

A spokesperson for NHS County Durham CCG said: "We sympathise with the couple's situation and the frustration and distress this must cause.

"Under Section 3 of the NHS Act 2006, the CCG has to arrange for the provision of health services in order to meet the reasonable requirements for the whole population.

"To enable us to do this we annually publish a Value Based Clinical Commissioning Policy which details the procedures the CCG does not routinely commission and those funded in specific clinical circumstances. 

"With regards to IVF treatment the policy states that this treatment for patients with existing children is not routinely commissioned.

"Should your GP feel you are exceptionally different from the general population with the same condition you can submit an Individual Funding Request.

"All GPs are familiar with this process and we would advise anyone in this situation to discuss this with their GP."