Do I have to pay for IVF treatment?
The availability of IVF treatment on the NHS is subject to guidelines that are issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
These recommend that you should be offered up to three cycles of IVF if:
- you are between 23 and 39 years of age at the time of treatment, and
- one, or both, of you has been diagnosed with a fertility problem, or
- you have been infertile for at least three years.
Some PCTs also have additional criteria that may affect your eligibility for funding. For example, some PCTs will not provide funding for couples where one partner already has a child.
Waiting lists for NHS funded IVF treatment will vary depending on your particular PCT. If you have been trying for a baby for a while (more than a year), and you are over 30 years of age, it is important to see your GP as soon as possible to discuss your fertility treatment options on the NHS.
Unless you are exempt, you will have to pay prescription charges for any medicines that you require.
Most fertility clinics (even those located on NHS premises) only offer a fee-paying IVF service. The cost varies from clinic to clinic.
A cycle of IVF, including medicines and consultations, can typically cost between £4,000-£8,000 pounds. However, costs could increase if you also require donor eggs, or sperm.
Private clinics operate in competition with each other, so prices tend to be similar in most areas of the country; usually an average of around £5,000 a cycle. As the medicines that are used in IVF can be very expensive, you should ensure that they are included in the overall price.
If they are not included, it may be worth comparing prices from different sources, such as local pharmacies. In some cases, you may be able to buy the medicines direct from the pharmaceutical company.
Some fertility clinics offer egg-sharing schemes where can donate eggs collected from a cycle of IVF to another women in return for a reduced price IVF treatment.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) produce an information pack that provides more details about costs, sponsorship criteria, and choosing a clinic.
Published Date 2010-09-15
Last Review Date 2008-06-16
Photography: Ken Teegardin @Flickr