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 Manchester, a policy has been developed by the Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group (Manchester CCG) that covers what treatments are funded and who is eligible.
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:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Length of time trying to conceive
- Previous children
- Lifestyle factors
Manchester CCG fund treatment for women aged 39 and under, and women aged 40-42 if they have not had IVF privately and if there is no evidence of low ovarian reserve.
The female is recommended to have a BMI between 19 and 30. If your BMI is not within the guidelines, you will be added to the “watchful waiting” list for treatment, but will not be able to commence treatment until your BMI is within range. You may apply for funding through an “Exceptional Case Route” if you are able to demonstrate that your BMI is not an accurate measure of your health through other acceptable measures.
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. 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 insemination attempts around the time of ovulation carried out in a clinical setting before funding can be considered. An application may have to be made via the “Exceptional Case Route” to access funding.
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. Manchester CCG state that one of the partners may have a child from a previous relationship and still be eligible for funding.
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 Manchester, both partners must be non smoking to access treatment on the NHS. Individuals who are smokers will be added to a waiting list and can commence treatment once they’ve completed a smoking cessation program and are nicotine free.
If either partner have undergone an elective sterilisation, you are not be eligible for treatment – even if it has been reversed.
What are you entitled to?
Women aged 39 and under are eligible for 1 full cycle of IVF on the NHS. Women aged 40-42 may also access 1 full cycle if they have not had IVF privately and if there is no evidence of low ovarian reserve.
You can read more about IVF provision in Manchester:
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.