NHS Scotland Criteria for IVF, Egg Recipient and DI treatmentAll NHS couples must meet the following criteria: Criteria will be reapplied after each unsuccessful treatment cycle, before any subsequent treatment can commence for IVF/ICSI, Donor sperm or donor egg recipients. If you are having fertility preservation, this 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


Female partner fresh cycles/ new treatments to be initiated by 40th birthday and all subsequent Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET) to be completed by their 41st birthday.

If female partner turns 40 during the first cycle no further fresh treatment will be offered.

Child in the home

Couples where only one partner has a biological child (or legal parenthood 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)



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

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

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 (male or female) 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.

Donor Insemination IUI cycles

Up to six cycles of IUI may be undertaken where clinically indicated

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 it is in the patient's interest

•             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 female partners 42nd birthday at the latest, and all treatment including any subsequent frozen embryo transfers must be completed by the time the female partner 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 still fulfil the access criteria. If suitable embryos are frozen these should be transferred before the next stimulated treatment cycle.

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


Body Mass Index (BMI)

The female partner must have a BMI above 18.5 and below 30.


Both partners must be non-smoking and nicotine free for at least 3 months before being added to the waiting list and during treatment.  This includes any form of nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. Although not testing just now you will 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