Couples turning to private IVF treatment

5th September 2012 in Advice

Forty-five per cent of couples waiting for IVF and infertility treatment on the NHS are turning to private clinics instead, according to a new survey by the National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC).

From the 456 couples who responded to the survey, 27 per cent waited longer than a year for IVF to begin after being referred to a specialist, including 12 per cent who waited two years. As a result of the lengthy wait, 45 per cent had treatment at a private clinic instead.

The survey also revealed that couples who are eligible for NHS IVF treatment under NICE guidelines are routinely being denied it by cash-strapped Primary Care Trusts who instead impose their own, stricter criteria.

The majority of couples also said that they felt their GP was ‘unsympathetic’ or ‘lacking sufficient knowledge’ about infertility, with some being told just to try for longer without being referred for investigations.

This report, although based on a relatively small number of respondents, paints a poor snapshot of current NHS infertility provision. Earlier studies have already ranked the UK amongst the lowest in Europe when it comes to funding infertility.

When it comes to infertility treatment success, the younger you are when you start IVF treatment, the better the chances of pregnancy, because your eggs are of better quality. The fact that couples are being forced to wait up to two years in some cases, before IVF even begins, is already lowering their chances of success before they’ve even started.

Little wonder then that so many in this survey decided they couldn’t wait that long and instead had to find the money to pay for treatment themselves.

If you find yourself on lengthy NHS waiting lists, there are options available to you:

  • Refer yourself:You can refer yourself privately to us – you don’t need a referral letter from your GP – by clicking here
  • Be an egg-sharer:If you’re willing to share some of your eggs with other infertile women, you can also receive IVF treatment at a heavily-subsidised rate of £870 per cycle inclusive of all screening tests and drugs. To be an egg-sharer, you must be aged under 35 and have no serious medical history. To find out what’s involved and the necessary criteria for egg-sharing, please click here.If you think you meet the right age and medical criteria, you can apply online to be an egg-sharer here.
  • Transfer your funding:If you do receive NHS IVF provision in your area, don’t forget that you can apply to have your funding transferred to us. You don’t have to go to the NHS clinic they refer you to – you can ask for it to be redirected to a private clinic. To find out what to do, click here 

Last updated: 20th January 2020