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Fertility treatment on the NHS

We’ve put together the following guide to help individuals understand how best to access fertility treatment on the NHS.

If you’d like further support, please get in touch and our fertility advisors will be able to help!

Accessing the NHS

IVF is only offered on the NHS if certain criteria, set by The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Individual NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will, however, make the final decision about who can access fertility treatment on the NHS in the areas that they cover.

Around 50% of treatment cycles across the UK are funded by the NHS​.

Basic criteria:
Under 40 years old

Women under the age of 40 should be offered 3 cycles of IVF treatment if:

  • they’ve been trying to get pregnant through regular unprotected sex for 2 years
  • they’ve not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination
  • If you turn 40 during treatment, the current cycle will be completed, but further cycles won’t be offered
  • If tests show IVF is the only treatment likely to help you get pregnant, you should be referred straight away

Basic criteria:
40 - 42 years old

Women aged 40 to 42 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, or haven’t been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination
  • 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
  • If tests show IVF is the only treatment likely to help you get pregnant, you should be referred straight away.

Individual CCG criteria

NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service but the provision of IVF treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local CCG policies.

CCGs may 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
  • being a healthy weight
  • not smoking
  • falling into a certain age range (for example, some CCGs only fund treatment for women under 35)

Although NICE recommend that 3 cycles of IVF should be offered on the NHS, some CCGs only offer 1 cycle, or only offer NHS-funded IVF in exceptional circumstances.

Fertility treatment for single women

The NHS generally only funds fertility treatment for couples and not for single women. Wales offers some treatment for single women, but the individual CCGs set their own criteria across England.

Egg freezing is also not normally available on the NHS unless you are having medical treatment which could affect your fertility (for example, treatment for cancer).

Again, this is decided by the individual CCGs who you should contact in the first instance.

CP Nursing

We've partnered with CP Nursing to support your fertility journey on the NHS.

CP Nurses are fully qualified, registered and regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). They provide our patients with professional, independent, practical advice and emotional support that is confidential, to help them cope with their experience of their fertility journey.

CP Nurses have extensive clinical knowledge and experience and are equipped to help patients navigate the NHS fertility provision.

With direct access to the nursing team, patients can expect personalised, holistic care. CP Nurses strive to develop a ‘therapeutic’ relationship with patients, with the primary goal of empowering them to make informed decisions in their fertility health and wellbeing journey.

In partnership with Fertifa, they can:

  • Help prepare for doctor/specialist appointments on the NHS
  • Listen, and provide independent, unbiased support and guidance.
  • Help navigate the often complex pathways of our public healthcare systems

Get in touch

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