Assisted conception

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01   Guidance for Forces families seeking assisted conception

NHS England has written a specific commissioning policy for Armed Forces families, living in England, outlining the pathway and criteria for you to access assisted reproduction methods such as IVF and Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

This commissioning policy helps to prevent some of the issues that couples face due to mobility and accessing treatment.

For a copy of the application form click here.

Want to know more? Contact AFF Health and Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross at

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02   IVF in the Devolved Administrations

Northern Ireland

NHS-funded IVF is limited to those who have a medical cause of infertility. You need to have been trying to conceive for a year to be diagnosed, or infertile without a recognised cause for three years.

Couples who meet the treatment criteria are entitled to one cycle of IVF/ICSI treatment and one cycle of frozen embryo transfer (FET).

The treatment criteria are:

  • Female partner using her own eggs must be no older than 40 years or 49 years if donor eggs are being used (dependent on other criteria).
  • Couples who have children living with them (in any capacity) have access to services.
  • If someone has undergone voluntary sterilisation, treatment can be provided at clinical discretion.


Since April 2017, the Scottish Government now funds three cycles of IVF for eligible couples, an increase from the two cycles previously offered, where there is a reasonable expectation of a live birth.

No individual (male or female) can access more than three cycles of NHS funded IVF treatment cycles in Scotland under any circumstances, even if they are in a new relationship.

Patients should not be placed at the end of the waiting list following an unsuccessful treatment cycle.

The treatment criteria are:

  • Fresh treatment cycles must commence before the female partner is 40 years. All frozen transfers must be completed before she is 41 years
  • Non-smokers for at least three months before and during treatment
  • Neither partner should drink alcohol prior to or during treatment, this will be explained further by your GP or fertility specialist
  • BMI of female partner must be above 18.5 but below 30
  • Neither partner should have undergone voluntary sterilisation even if a reversal has been self-funded
  • Couples must have been co-habiting in a stable relationship for a minimum of 2 years
  • NHS funding may be given to those patients who have previously paid for IVF treatment, if in the treating clinician’s view, the individual clinical circumstances warrant further treatment.

For couples where the woman is aged from 40 to 42 one full cycle will be offered if:

  • They have never previously had IVF treatment
  • There is no evidence of poor ovarian reserve and if, in the treating clinician’s view, it is in the patient’s interest
  • There has been a discussion of the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age.


All women who meet the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) access criteria are entitled to two full cycles of IVF; a cycle includes one fresh and one frozen embryo transfer.

Couples (either partner) who have had three or more IVF cycles will be excluded from any further NHS IVF Treatment; previous cycles whether NHS or privately funded will be taken into account.

The treatment criteria are:

  • Women under 40 years (who meet the access criteria) are entitled to two cycles of IVF. However, if the woman reaches the age of 40 during the first cycle of treatment she will not be entitled to a second cycle of IVF
  • Women aged 40-42 years (who meet the access criteria) are entitled to one cycle of IVF provided they have never previously had IVF, there is no evidence of low ovarian reserve and there has been a discussion of the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age
  • No children (biological or adopted) living with the couple and one of the partners has never had a biological or adopted child
  • Both partners must have a BMI of between 19-30
  • Neither partner should have undergone sterilisation (this does not include sterilisation as a result of another medical problem). If sterilisation has been reversed couples should not be referred for treatment
  • Non-smokers
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03   What to do if you are overseas


Service couples living in British Forces Germany (BFG) and the Netherlands and Belgium (EJSU) will not receive funding for assisted conception treatment; however there is support for fertility investigations to entitled couples.

Funding is available for surgery in BFG and EJSU to correct any anatomical abnormality that is causing the infertility. For more information on assisted conception treatment speak to your doctor.

British Forces Cyprus (BFC)

BFC does not fund assisted conception treatment but will fund fertility investigations up to the point of diagnosis. If you require assisted conception treatment, they will advise you to return to the UK. For more information, speak to your doctor.

Other overseas postings

You are not advised to have IVF or other infertility treatment in any other overseas bases because treatment cannot be quality assured or regulated in line with national UK guidelines.

If you are considering having treatment overseas, visit the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (HFEA) website for more information and guidance.

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04   Worried about mobility and assisted conception treatment?

It is MOD policy that, where possible, assistance should be given to enable Service personnel and their spouses, civil partners or partners to have access to assisted conception services provided by the NHS in the UK.

Defence Instruction and Notices, Assisted Conception and Fertility Policy – 2016DIN01-052,  gives policy guidance to those seeking assisted conception treatment and to their career managers, so that a solution can be found if stability is required.

If you are experiencing any problems with accessing fertility treatment or if you would like to give feedback regarding the treatment you have received, contact Karen Ross at

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