Funding – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Whether you are exploring your treatment options and have some questions or have received a confirmation letter from us to inform you that your Integrated Care Board  (ICB) has agreed funding, is important that you read the details carefully, so you are fully aware of your funded fertility care entitlement.

How do I find out if I am eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS?

In England, decisions about fertility funding are made locally by health boards.

Local Integrated care Boards (ICB’s) decide on their own fertility service policy and who is entitled to what funded care in their area . This means that across postcode boundaries it may differ as to the amount of IVF cycles they will fund and what additional criteria a patient must meet to qualify for treatment.

Your local area (ICB) is determined by your own GP Practice address rather than your own home address.

You can find your local ICB ‘Assisted Conception’ or ‘Fertility Policy’ on Google.

Individual NHS integrated care boards (ICBs) make the final decision about who can have NHS-funded IVF in their local area and usually have additional criteria you need to meet before you can have IVF on the NHS, such as:

  • not having any children already, from both your current and any previous relationships – in some area this includes an adopted child
  • being a healthy weight
  • not smoking
  • falling into a certain age range

Is a women’s age a barrier to NHS funded treatment?

The earlier you access support from your GP and request a referral to Fertility Screening clinic (FSC) the better as this gives time for investigations, especially if you are aged 35+

From a funding perspective, Women aged under 40 are usually offered 1, 2 or 3 cycles of IVF treatment from the  NHS if they've been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for 2 years and they fit the funding criteria.

It is important to note that most ICBs stipulate that all eligible treatment and cycles must commence prior to the women’s 40th birthday, so if you turn 40 during treatment, the current cycle will be completed, but further cycles will not be offered.

Women aged 40 to 42

The NICE guidelines say women aged 40 to 42 at time of referral should be offered 1 cycle of IVF on the NHS if all of the following criteria are met:

  • they've been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for 2 years.
  • they've never had IVF treatment before
  • they show no evidence of low ovarian reserve (where eggs in your ovaries are low in number or quality)
  • they've been informed of the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age

I am 34 and was successful on my first IVF cycle and now have a child. My funding letter said my area offers 2/3 cycles before I am 40; am I eligible for more treatment?

NHS funding is not normally available to couples who already have a child, so if you are successful on your first cycle of treatment and this results in a live birth, you will no longer fit the criteria for further funded care, even if you have frozen embryos in storage (in most areas). Any further cycles will require self-funding

Can you explain the terminology for what the NHS will fund? What is a treatment cycle?

A cycle is the process whereby one course of IVF/ICSI commences with ovarian stimulation and is deemed complete when all viable fresh or frozen embryos from that stimulation have been replaced.

ICBs will often agree to fund 1, 2 or 3 NHS cycles (dependant on your area) if patients and partners meet their specified criteria.

It is important to understand that if you are successful if your first cycle of treatment and this results in a live birth, you will no longer fit the criteria for further funded care, even if you have frozen embryos in storage (in most areas).

Any further cycles will require self-funding

Will I receive funding if I or my partner has a child(ren)?

In England, this comes down to your local area and what its fertility policy is.  Unfortunately, the level of treatment offered is determined locally. 

Some areas may not fund treatment if, for example, there are existing children – even if they are not from the current relationship, don’t live with you and/or are grown up.  Some may fund if one partner has no children. 

It is important to note also that if you are successful in your earlier IVF cycles and this results in a live birth, you are no longer classed as having no children.

Will I qualify for funding if my partner or I have been sterilised?

If either of you have previously been sterilised it is unlikely that you will receive NHS funding, but you can make enquiries about self-funded or private care at our centre.

I am in a same sex relationship; will we qualify for funded treatment?

In England, this again comes down to your local area and what its fertility policy is.

I am single women and would like to use donor sperm. Am I eligible for NHS funding?

In general, NHS funding is only available for couples and not single women.

Wales does offer treatment to single women, and full details are available on the NHS Funding Wales page.

In England, individual local areas set their own policy.

Why am I not eligible for funding?

There are many reasons your application for NHS funded care may be declined. This can be due to lifestyle and can include smoking or drug use.

Your weight and BMI are also a factor for funded care, with most ICBs (local health boards) requiring a BMI of less than 30.

It may be that you are an overseas patient and don’t qualify for NHS funded fertility treatment (add links

It may be because with your or you partner have a child from a previous relationship.

Age is also a factor.

If you are not eligible for NHS funded care, self-funded or private fertility treatment is often still an option. You can read more here