NHS Scotland Criteria All couples seeking NHS funded fertility treatment must meet the following criteria which will be reapplied after each unsuccessful treatment cycle, before any further treatment can start. This includes IVF/ICSI and treatments requiring the use of donor sperm or donor egg. If you are freezing your sperm, eggs or embryos for fertility preservation, this criteria will not apply.

Duration of infertility (at least one)

·         With a cause, of any duration – all couples

·         Unexplained infertility of two years – heterosexual couples

·         Unexplained infertility following six cycles of donor insemination – same sex couples


Neither partner should have undergone sterilisation.

Stable relationship

Couples must have been co-habiting in a stable relationship for a minimum of 2 years at the same address.


For fresh cycles, the intended birth mother must start treatment by their 40th birthday and all Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET) from that treatment must be completed by their 41st birthday.


If the intended birth mother turns 40 during the first cycle no further fresh treatment will be provided.  

Child in the home

Couples where only one partner has a biological child (or is the legal parent of a child) can access NHS funded treatment as long as all other access criteria are met in full.

Number of cycles (either with own or donor gametes)IVF/ICSI

Up to three cycles of IVF/ICSI may be offered where there is a reasonable expectation of a live birth. Clinical judgement will be applied to determine this e.g. an assessment of ovarian reserve before the first cycle.


If there has been a poor response, or no response at all to controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (less than 3 eggs retrieved) in the first cycle no further IVF/ICSI treatment will be funded by the NHS.


All frozen eggs/embryos stored in any centre in the UK must be used before further eggs are collected and embryos are created.


No individual (of gender) can access more than the number of NHS funded IVF treatment cycles supported by NHS Scotland under any circumstances, even if they are in a new relationship.

Treatment using donor sperm

Up to six cycles of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) may be undertaken where clinically indicated, however should you as a couple chose to have IVF first (for whatever reason) you cannot go back to IUI. If IVF is undertaken, as a couple, the maximum number of cycles is three and all other criteria must be met for each cycle. 

Number of cycles if female partner aged 40 to 42 years old

One cycle of treatment may be funded if:

·         The couple have never previously had IVF treatment.

·         There is no evidence of poor ovarian reserve, and if in the treating clinician’s view, treatment would be clinically effective.

·         There has been a robust discussion regarding the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age.


Couples must have been screened for treatment by the time of the intended birth mother’s 42nd birthday at the latest, and all treatment including any subsequent frozen embryo transfers must be completed by the time the intended birth mother reaches 42+ 364 days.

​​​​​Number of Cycles for couples who have previously self-funded

NHS funding may be given to those couples who have previously paid for IVF treatment, if in the treating clinician’s view, further treatment would be clinically effective.


If the embryos were created as part of a self-funded treatment and couple wish to use them as NHS funded – this will be counted towards the NHS funded treatment.


If self-funding, you will be ‘recorded as unavailable’ on NHS waiting list until self-funding episode of care is complete.


Definition of one full cycle of IVF/ICSI

·         One full cycle includes ovulation induction, egg retrieval, fertilisation, transfer of fresh embryos followed by the freezing of suitable embryos and the subsequent replacement of these, provided the couple continue to fulfil the access criteria. If suitable embryos are frozen these should be transferred before the next fresh treatment cycle.

·         If for any reason you do not want embryos to be frozen, eggs can be frozen. Each time eggs are thawed and mixed with sperm this will be counted as one full cycle.


Body Mass Index (BMI)

The intended birth mother must have a BMI above 18.5 and below 30 before being added to the waiting list for treatment.


Both partners must be non-smoking and nicotine free for at least 3 months before being added to the waiting list and throughout treatment.  This includes any form of nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. You may be tested prior to going on the waiting list and at your clinic appointments during treatment.

Alcohol and drugs

·         Both partners must abstain from illegal and abusive substances.

·         Both partners must be Methadone free for at least one year prior to referral for treatment.

·         Neither partner should drink alcohol prior to or during the period of treatment.