Find out about NHS Funding
Access to NHS fertility treatment varies across the UK. In England and Wales access to NHS treatment is covered under the NICE Guideline but as this is only a guideline there is no obligation on the PCTs to follow it with the result patients face a ‘postcode lottery’ where access depends entirely on where they live.
Patients in Wales are also covered by the NICE Guideline but unlike England, central funding and decision-making means they all receive two cycles no matter where in Wales they live. However, waiting lists can vary between Health Boards.
In Scotland patients have better access to treatment, with Health Boards offering up to three full cycles of treatment. Current guidance is under review with the aim of standardising all access criteria and reducing waiting lists across Scotland
Northern Ireland provides one full cycle, although here they do fund treatment for couples who already have a child.
Our Funding for Fertility gives more detail on local provision across the country and the results of a project undertaken by Infertility Network UK to assess the variations in NHS provision across England can be found here.
To support Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in taking forward the commissioning of infertility services in England the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) has produced a factsheet designed to share key knowledge and understanding related to commissioning infertility services. The factsheet includes a tool produced by I N UK aimed at standardising eligibility criteria across England and the final report on our PCT project funded by the Department of Health and aimed at identifying good practice in the commissioning of fertility services and sharing that information as well as identifying bad practice. The report makes a number of recommendations for commissioners to consider.