28/06/2010 10:23 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Women Over 40 Could Be Offered Fertility Treatment To Avoid Age Discrimination

Women over the age of 40 could get free fertility treatment on the NHS for the first time, as the Health Service are scared of being sued under age discrimination laws.

The current age limit for IVF may be scrapped in favour of the trusts deciding on whether a women gets free IVF cycles bases on how many eggs they have left.

Critics have said that this could encourage women to have babies in middle age, which can put both mother and baby at considerable risk. For example, children of older mothers are more likely to be born with an abnormality, whilst older mothers are more likely to die in childbirth.

Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: 'This is back-to-front healthcare. At the same time as we are urging pregnant women not to smoke because of the health risks, we are talking about making it easier for older women to have children - putting their children at higher risk of abnormality.

However, she then went on to encourage more women to have children at 24, as this is the 'optimum age' .

Currently, infertile women aged between 23 and 39 should be offered three cycles of IVF treatment free on the NHS, although many primary care trusts cannot afford to fund that many. Therefore an increase in the age limit will add a further strain to the system.

The committee are also considering whether to allow lesbians and single women the same rights as heterosexual couples for treatment. A decision should be made by 2012.

What do you think about the potential changes?

Source: Daily Mail