Once your GP has completed your fertility investigations they will decide if there is a need for further assessment or if you should continue to try to conceive naturally or if you are eligible for treatment funded by the NHS. The NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines provide recommendations on funding for treatment, however, your local area may specify their own eligibility criteria for funding. In Birmingham, a policy has been developed by the NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


In order to be referred for treatment, an assessment must be made by your GP or fertility specialist which specifies certain criteria. The criteria includes:

  • Age 
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Length of time trying to conceive
  • Previous children
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Sterilisation


Birmingham CCG can fund treatment for women aged 39 and under. The male partner must be under 55 years of age at the start of treatment.


Couples are recommended to have a BMI between 19 and 30. If your BMI is not within the guidelines, you will not be added to the waiting list for treatment, you will be referred back to your GP for advice on how to meet the requirements.

Time to conceive

If you’ve been trying to conceive for over 1 year and have an infertility diagnosis, you could be referred for treatment. If you’ve been trying to conceive for over 1 year and have an infertility diagnosis, you could be referred for treatment. In cases of unexplained infertility, your GP would advise to continue trying naturally for 2 years before being referred for treatment. For same-sex female couples and single women, you must undergo six self-funded insemination attempts with IUI in a licensed clinic.

Previous children

The NICE guidelines state that having children, either from a current or previous relationship, should not be a deciding factor when determining eligibility for funding for IVF, however Birmingham CCG state that NHS treatment will not be funded if either partner has living children.

Lifestyle factors

The NICE guidelines explain that women who are smoking should be informed that it is likely to reduce their fertility. Even passive smoking can affect their chances of conceiving. In Birmingham, smoking must have ceased by both partners 3 months prior to referral for treatment.


If either partner has undergone elective sterilisation, you are not be eligible for treatment – even if it has been reversed.

What are you entitled to?

Funding will not be offered to those who have previously had fertility treatment, even if it was privately funded. 

Females and couples who meet the above eligibility criteria can access 1 cycle of NHS funded IVF (with or without ICSI). The definition of the cycle is the replacement of a fresh embryo from the initial derived cycle. If you have surplus good quality embryos from the initial cycle, they can be frozen and stored for future use, however frozen embryo transfers are not funded by the CCG.

You can read more about IVF provision in Birmingham: 

Birmingham and Solihull CCG IVF Policy

This information is accurate as of the publishing date, however CCGs review and update their policies. Please get in touch with us if you think the above information has changed.

Any general advice given by our care team or posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Béa Fertility, the trading name for StepOne Fertility Ltd. makes no representations or warranties and expressly disclaims any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app.