Pathway FAQs

How do we access the Regional Fertility Centre?

If you are concerned that you have a fertility problem you should initially attend your GP. You and your partner should be assessed as a couple, at the same time, rather than one after the other. The GP should carry out an initial assessment and decide if referral to the Regional Fertility Centre is appropriate. Some patients may already be attending a gynaecologist at their local hospital who will perform initial investigations and possibly first-line treatment before referring on to the Regional Fertility Centre for further specialist management if necessary.

Am I entitled to treatment on the NHS?

The NHS will cover all consultations and investigations performed in the RFC. In terms of IVF/ICSI or FET treatment, the NHS will fund a single cycle of treatment in a couple if they meet the following criteria:
Female partner aged under 40 years when starting the treatment cycle, have had less than 4 previous unsuccessful IVF/ICSI cycles (including self-funded treatments) and has a BMI less than 35kg/m². 
Other fertility treatments, such as, Ovulation Induction or Intrauterine Insemination are funded by the NHS.

How long do I have to wait for NHS funded IVF treatment?

There is an NHS treatment waiting list. Once a decision is made that IVF is the most suitable treatment, patients are placed on the treatment waiting list. Currently patients can expect to wait 12 months from being added to this list and patients are usually added to the waiting list at the second appointment with the consultant.

What happens if I am not eligible for NHS funded treatment?

Patients who are not eligible for NHS funded IVF/ICSI or FET treatment can privately fund treatment at the Regional Fertility Centre. 

What is the HFEA?

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is the independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research. The HFEA licenses fertility clinics and centres carrying out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), other assisted conception procedures and human embryo research.

What Causes Infertility?

About one in six couples in the UK have problems achieving pregnancy.

In rough terms, about one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors, and about one-third to factors that affect women. For the remaining one-third of infertile couples, infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, in about 20 percent of cases, is unexplained.

The most common male infertility factors include azoospermia (no sperm) and oligospermia (low sperm count). The most common cause of female infertility is an ovulation disorder. Other causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes, which can occur when a woman has had pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis (a sometimes painful condition causing adhesions and cysts).

Congenital anomalies (birth defects) involving the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids can be associated with infertility and repeated miscarriages. It is very important not to attach blame to yourself or your partner, even if one of you has an obvious problem.

In some couples, no cause can be found for their failure to conceive, despite very intensive investigation. Both partners seem quite healthy, but they simply do not conceive together. This can be very distressing and seem quite incomprehensible, but it does happen reasonably frequently.