Wales

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 Wales, a policy has been developed by the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) and applies to residents of all seven Health Boards in Wales. 

Eligibility

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

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

Age

The NICE guidelines state that women under the age of 40 years old should be eligible for funded treatment. WHSSC specify that women between 20 and 42 years old and men 55 years old or younger are eligible.

BMI

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. 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 through private arrangement or 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. WHSSC state that one of the partners may have a child from a previous relationship and still be eligible for funding. 

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 Wales, male and female patients who smoke must take part in a smoking cessation programme in order to be accepted onto the IVF waiting list. 

Sterilisation

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

What are you entitled to?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is not funded by the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC). Where donor sperm is needed to undertake IUI, the sperm will be funded by the WHSSC but the procedure will need to be self funded. 

Women who are under the age of 40 and meet the above criteria, are eligible for two cycles of IVF on the NHS. Women between 40-42 years old are entitled to one cycle of IVF if they have not had IVF before, if there’s no evidence of low ovarian reserve and if they are given information about implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age. 

You can read more about IVF provision in Wales: 

Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee 

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.