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Cancer patients face infertility treatment lottery

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Medical experts are calling for a national strategy to ensure all cancer patients have equal access to fully funded infertility treatment.

Some forms of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, some radiotherapy treatments and certain operations, can damage the testicles or ovaries.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which determines which treatments should be available on the NHS, recommends universal access to sperm, egg and embryo storage.

However, a survey has revealed that such services are not always available or fully funded for cancer patients.

Experts from the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Radiologists, and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are calling for a national policy on the storage of sperm, eggs and embryos.

Dr Ben Mead, chairman of the working party, said: "What is lacking is a uniform national strategy - leaving the present arrangements as analogous to postcode prescribing.

"It is time for action nationally to deal with this distressing problem."

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Infertility treatment news : 16/01/2008