Scotland’s four NHS IVF centres have been given permission to reopen after treatment was suspended in March as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has authorised the clinics to resume treatment.
They will work with NHS Scotland to ensure services can start up again “in a safe and timely way”.
As the move was confirmed, public health minister Joe FitzPatrick pledged women who are close to the upper age limit for NHS IVF will “not be disadvantaged” by the closure.
Subject to a clinical assessment, they will “still continue to receive treatment”, Mr FitzPatrick said.
He made the commitment after former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson asked Nicola Sturgeon if those women who crossed the age threshold of 40 during the coronavirus crisis would lose their entitlement to IVF.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t want anyone who is undergoing IVF to have their chances of conceiving a child taken away from them because of this crisis alone.”
“I also want to reassure those women who are close to the upper age limit for NHS IVF that they will not be disadvantaged and subject to a clinical assessment, they will still continue to receive treatment.”Joe FitzPatrick, Public Health Minister
Mr FitzPatrick welcomed confirmation the Aberdeen Fertility Centre, the centre at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Assisted Conception Unit and the centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee had their reopening approved by the HFEA.
He said it “will provide much-needed comfort and reassurance to worried patients across Scotland”.
“The Scottish Government wants to reassure patients that we are working with the four IVF centres, alongside the leading patient stakeholder group Fertility Network, to ensure all services resume in a safe and timely way,” Mr FitzPatrick said.
“I also want to reassure those women who are close to the upper age limit for NHS IVF that they will not be disadvantaged and subject to a clinical assessment, they will still continue to receive treatment.
“Scotland has the most generous and fairest NHS IVF treatment in the UK and we want to ensure clinics are able to contact patients as quickly as we can safely do so.”