Costs and funding
If you need to have fertility treatment you have two options: you can either pay for it yourself or you can see if you’re eligible for treatment on the NHS. Find out more about your options on this page.
Can I get fertility treatment on the NHS?
Sadly there isn’t an easy answer to this question. Firstly it depends on where you live – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all make their own decisions on funding fertility treatment.
If you live in England it gets more complicated. Decisions about who can have fertility treatment (and how much) are decided locally by Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). So in some parts of the country, you may be able to get three attempts at IVF whilst in another part of the country you would only be able to get one attempt at IVF (or even none).
The best thing to do is to talk to your GP as it can be tricky to find out exactly what’s available in your local area and if you’re eligible.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends what fertility treatments they think should be provided, and to whom. However these are only recommendations – ICBs are still free to make their own decisions.
What if I have NHS treatment but it’s not successful?
Unfortunately if you’re not successful and you’re not eligible for any more treatment on the NHS you will either have to pay for treatment or keep trying naturally (if that’s an option).
The definition of a cycle
Depending on where you are in England, you may be entitled to one, two or three cycles of IVF on the NHS (or, in some places, none). However, this can mean different things in different parts of the country. In some areas one cycle means you get one fresh embryo transferred to the womb and if you have additional, good quality embryos these can be frozen and one, two or more frozen embryos can be transferred to your womb later on. In other parts of the country, one cycle means you only get one fresh embryo transferred to the womb and no frozen transfers. This means if you wanted to freeze additional high quality embryos and use them later on, you would need to pay for this.
Commissioning of fertility services is a very complex area. If you're struggling to get answers you may find it helpful to find your ICB’s policy on infertility, which will outline exactly how much funded treatment is available and for whom.
Find your ICB on a list and then contact your ICB or search for their policy online.
Is fertility testing covered on the NHS? What about prescription costs for my fertility drugs?
In most cases you should be able to have some fertility testing on the NHS. This includes some areas that don't offer any funded fertility treatment at all.
The exception may be same sex couples and single women who do not have any pre-existing fertility problems they are aware of. In these cases, you may be asked to have a certain number of self-funded intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles, If these are unsuccessful, you will be eligible to have fertility testing. Talk to your GP about the process in your area.
People having fertility treatment on the NHS will still need to pay prescription charges for drugs unless they're exempt.
Are private treatment costs regulated?
No, fertility clinics are free to set their own costs just like any other private healthcare provider. This means that the same treatment could be two or even three times more expensive depending on which clinic you choose.
We strongly recommend you shop around before committing to a clinic and consider a wide range of factors when making your final decision.
Why do costs of treatment vary so much?
Partly it’s because clinics are free to charge what they want. But it’s also important that you’re clear about what is (and isn’t) included in your quote.
Some clinics may quote a cost that is for the treatment only (in vitro fertilisation [IVF] or intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI] for example) and not include your fertility drugs (which can be very expensive), freezing leftover embryos or any administration costs. Others may quote for everything and therefore seem more expensive at first glance.
Make sure you’re comparing like with like and be aware that if the treatment you’re having changes then the price will change as well.
Is it worth having the clinic’s recommended ‘extras’?
Some clinics will offer you treatment add-ons, which can be very expensive. There is no conclusive evidence that any of the commonly offered add-ons increase the chance of a pregnancy, so you should have a look at our treatment add-ons page. Our traffic light rating system helps you to easily identify which add-ons have been shown to be effective.
Ultimately it's up to you if you want to pay for add ons but as long as you understand the evidence you'll be able to make an informed decision.
It says on my bill ‘HFEA fee’ – what’s that for?
We don’t charge you for your fertility treatment. We charge fertility clinics a cost for each cycle of IVF and IUI they perform, which covers our costs to regulate them. Some clinics choose to list this on your bill.
Our current fees are:
£85 for each cycle of IVF
£37.50 for each cycle of donor insemination
From our partners
Find your ICB on a list (NHS England)
Review date: 19 December 2024