MORE women can now qualify for IVF on the NHS in Dorset.

The NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) introduced changes to the age limits that women living in Dorset can qualify for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) from April 1.

The former age range for the service is between 30 and 35 – but the lower age limit has now been removed and a new upper age limit of 39 introduced.

Treatment must be completed by the woman’s 40th birthday.

This is an interim policy for a year.

The widening of the age limit for access to treatment will ensure that more couples in Dorset can have fertility treatment.

Dr Karen Kirkham, clinical chair for maternity, reproductive and family health for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The changes to the policy represent a significant improvement, as we have removed the lower age limit and increased the upper age limit at which couples can access treatment by assisted conception meaning the service can be accessed by more couples in Dorset and at an age that couples wish to try to have a family.

“We are in the process of communicating with all GP practices in Dorset and consultant colleagues to ensure they make patients aware of the new arrangements and are also working with GPs and our locality teams to consider the impact of changes beyond 2015 so their views and patient insight can help inform future plans for the service.”

During the period of the interim policy the CCG governing body will be consulting on its proposal to reduce the number of cycles available from two to one.

One cycle of treatment would consist of one fresh cycle and one frozen cycle, where embryos have been stored during the fresh cycle.