NHS Funding FAQ

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions on NHS funding.

If your question is not answered here then please contact us


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

The level of treatment offered in England is very much a ‘postcode lottery’ and is determined by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) you come under. Although there is national guidance set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013) the CCGs can set their own local priorities and decide the level of funding, number of cycles they will fund and what additional criteria a patient has to meet in order to qualify for treatment. There are a few CCGs which do not fund fertility treatment at all.

You will find details of the level of funding offered by your CCG, and whether you fit its criteria at the Fertility Fairness website.

For details of NHS funding in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales visit the regional pages on our NHS funding section.


How do I find out which is my Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)?

To find your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and for an overview of the level of funding offered and whether you fit its criteria click you can visit the Fertility Fairness website. Under ‘NHS fertility services’ choose the region in which you live and open the data link at the bottom of the page for the list of CCGs in that region. If you are unsure which your CCG is then click here; the link will take you to a map of the CCGs. Zoom in and find the area in which your GP is situated, as it is their location which determines your CCG not the location of your home, and then click on the map – this will give you the name of your CCG.


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

In England, this comes down to your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)) and what its fertility policy is.  Unfortunately, the level of treatment offered is very much a ‘postcode lottery’ and is determined by each individual CCG.  Some CCGs 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.  Find out the situation in your area at the Fertility Fairness website.

Although the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013) clinical fertility guideline does not address the issue of existing children as it is purely a clinical guideline, the NICE Quality Standard 73 for Fertility Problems (2014)  does. The quality standard  states:

The existence of living children should not be a factor that precludes the provision of fertility treatment.

However, as with the NICE clinical guidelines, the CCGs are under no obligation to follow any of the quality standard’s recommendations and can continue to make their own decisions about what level of funding they will offer.

If your CCG uses previous children as a barrier to treatment then you can appeal to your CCG for funding, quoting the Quality Standard 73 for Fertility Problems (2014).  Our regional NHS funding pages have some template letters which you can use to help write your appeal.

Full details of the criteria in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including criteria on existing children, are outlined on our regional funding pages.


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.


I’m in a same sex relationship; will I qualify for treatment?

In England, this comes down to your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and what its fertility policy is. Unfortunately, the level of treatment offered is very much a ‘postcode lottery’.

The latest  guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013)  does make recommendations for same sex couples who have had 12 cycles of artificial insemination (where 6 or more are intrauterine insemination) and have been unsuccessful in relation to accessing NHS IVF. http://publications.nice.org.uk/fertility-cg156/recommendations#intrauterine-insemination-2

To find out what your CCG funds please follow this link to the Fertility Fairness website.

If your CCG does not fund same sex couples then you can appeal to your CCG for funding.  You can use the template letters on our NHS funding page to help.  You can also find more information for same sex couples on the Stonewall website www.stonewall.org.uk

Full details of the criteria in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including criteria for couples in same sex relationships, are outlined on our regional funding pages.


I am single. Am I eligible for NHS funding?

In general, NHS funding is only available to couples and not to single women. Wales does offer treatment to single women, and full details are available on our NHS Funding Wales page. In England, individual Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) set their own policy. You can contact your CCG directly to find out this information. Visit the Fertility Fairness website to find out your CCG’s contact details.


I was successful on my first IVF cycle, and my Clinical Commissioning Group offers 2/3 cycles; am I eligible for more treatment?

NHS funding is not normally available to couples who already have a child. There are exceptions where the child is not the biological child of both partners, and in England this depends on the fertility policy of the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). If your CCG uses previous children as a barrier to treatment then, as you already have a child, you would not be eligible for treatment.

While the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013) clinical fertility guideline does not address existing children (as it is purely a clinical guideline), the NICE Quality Standard 73 for Fertility Problems (2014) does. This quality standard states:

The existence of living children should not be a factor that precludes the provision of fertility treatment.

However, as with the NICE clinical guidelines, the CCGs are under no obligation to follow any of the quality standard’s recommendations and can continue to make their own decisions about what level of funding they will offer.

If your CCG does use previous children as a barrier to treatment, and you do not have a child as a couple, then you can appeal to your CCG for funding, quoting the quality standard 73 for fertility problems (2014).  You can use the template letters on our NHS funding page to help.


What can I do if I have been refused NHS funding by my Clinical Commissioning Group?

If you have been refused funding by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) your only option is to appeal. Unfortunately, appealing holds no guarantees – but if you feel able to it is always worth a try; if nothing else it helps demonstrate a need in your area for treatment to be offered to patients in your circumstances.  You can use the template letters on our NHS funding page to help.


My Clinical Commissioning Group only funds one cycle – is there anything I can do?

The level of treatment offered is very much a ‘postcode lottery’ and is determined by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) you come under. Although there is national guidance set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013), the CCGs can set their own local priorities and decide the level of funding, number of cycles they will fund and what additional criteria a patient has to meet in order to qualify for treatment. There are a few CCGs which do not fund fertility treatment at all.

If your CCG only funds one cycle, you can appeal for further funding on the grounds that your CCG is not implementing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013) guidelines of three cycles of IVF/ICSI for eligible couples. You can use the template letters on our NHS funding page to help.


Why am I not eligible for funding?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013)  guidelines recommend that three full cycles of IVF or ICSI should be made available to people where the female is aged up to 39 (inclusive), with a clinical diagnosis requiring IVF or unexplained infertility for twoyears’ duration. The guidelines also recommend that couples where the female is aged between 40 and 42, has never had IVF and does not have a low ovarian reserve, should have access to one cycle of IVF.

The NICE guidelines are not mandatory and in England individual clinical commissioning groups are able to set their own level of funding and their own eligibility criteria for accessing this. If you meet the NICE guidelines’ recommendations for treatment but not those set by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), then you can appeal to your CCG for funding.  Some CCGs do not fund any fertility treatment. You can use the template letters on our NHS funding page to help write your appeal.

If you are not eligible because you are under 23 and your CCG criteria states the minimum age as 23, then you can try to appeal to your CCG on the grounds that the newly revised NICE guidelines (2013) have removed the lower age limit. If you are over 42 then you are not eligible for NHS funding and any treatment would have to be done as a private patient.


Can I freeze my eggs on the NHS?

Egg freezing is not normally available on the NHS unless you are having medical treatment which could affect your fertility (for example, treatment for cancer). You need to contact your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) directly and ask if it funds egg freezing. You can visit the Fertility Fairness website to find out the CCG’s contact details.


How do I find an egg/sperm donor? Is this available on the NHS?

In England, NHS funding for egg donation or donor insemination treatment is dependent on your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and what its fertility policy is.

You will need to contact your CCG directly to find out this information. You can visit the Fertility Fairness website to find out the CCG’s contact details.

If your CCG does not fund egg donation treatment or donor insemination then you can appeal to your CCG for funding.  You can use the template letters on our NHS Funding page to help.

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have central criteria for access to NHS treatment, including donor treatment. Full details are on each of our regional NHS funding pages.

Your clinic may have information and/or schemes to help you find your donor or you can contact the National Gamete Donation Trust who can provide advice and information.


Sperm/egg freezing as a cancer patient – now I’m being asked to pay….

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013) include recommendations relating to sperm/egg freezing for people before starting chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. You should check out recommendations 194 – 206 in the guideline.

However, in England it is up to each individual Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as to whether it implements these recommendations and provides sperm/egg freezing on the NHS. Again, you can appeal to your CCG using the template letters on our NHS funding pages, and we would recommend enlisting the support of your clinician.