NHS fertility treatment is not well funded in N Ireland with only one fresh and one frozen embryo transfer funded.
In Northern Ireland, the Health and Social Care Board (HSC) are responsible for commissioning of fertility services. A motion calling for the HSC to provide three full cycles of treatment has been approved in principle, but in reality, additional finance needs to be made available to make this happen, even in a phased approach.
Eligibility criteria for NHS treatment
From 1st June 2019, the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency and the Health and Social Care Board, revised the eligibility criteria for publicly funded fertility services.
To be eligible for NHS funded In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) or Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) treatments you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Women aged under 40; or
- Women aged between 40 and 42 who have never previously had IVF treatment and where there is no evidence of low ovarian reserve and there has been a discussion of the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy in this age group.
Criteria for referral to assisted reproductive services, where provision of IUI and IVF/ICSI is subject to the following conditions:
- The woman has a body mass index of at least 19.0kg/m2 and up to and including 30.0kg/m2.
- Neither the woman, nor her partner, has had three or more IVF cycles previously (including both publicly funded and private treatment).
- Neither the woman, nor her partner, has undergone a voluntary sterilisation procedure, even if reversed. This does not include conditions where sterilisation occurs as a result of another medical problem.
- Treatment will only be provided to people who have been assessed by the clinic as meeting HFEA requirements on the welfare of any child who may be born as a result and of any other child who may be affected by the birth.
Note: Storage of embryos or sperm for use in treatment
Your NHS treatment includes storage of embryos for two years from the date of your treatment. If you wish to continue storage beyond this, you will have to meet the storage costs (see the information on the Privately Funded Treatment). If you store sperm for use in further treatment the same charges apply, the exception to this is storage for oncology or in certain cases other medical reasons.
If you would like to help us campaign for more funding and improved NHS fertility provision in Northern Ireland, please visit our campaign page.