Fertility Treatments

Infertility can be defined either as having a medical condition whereby it is known that it is not possible to conceive, or, for heterosexual couples, as the failure to conceive after regular unprotected sexual intercourse for 2 years. For same sex couples it is defined as the failure to conceive after six self-funded rounds of IUI treatment. 
Fertility problems are common in the UK and it is estimated that they affect one in seven couples. 84% of couples in the general population will conceive within 1 year if they do not use contraception and have regular sexual intercourse. Of those who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do so in the second year (cumulative pregnancy rate 92%). The remaining 8% of couples will be unable to conceive without medical intervention and are therefore considered infertile.

First Steps

When you visit your GP for advise on infertility, the first stage is that you will generally be offered advise on how to improve fertility through lifestyle changes such as reducing smoking and drinking and maintaining a healthy weight.  If this does not work, you and your partner may be sent for further tests and may be offered treatment by your local hospital  such as hormonal drugs to stimulate ovulations.  If this doesn’t work or is inappropriate and you as a couple meet the eligibility criteria, you will then be referred to a specialist hospital like Leeds for assessment for assisted conception techniques such as IVF (In-vitro fertilisaton), DI (Donor Insemination), IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection)


In Wakefield District, an eligible couple can be offered a maximum of one cycle of funded treatment.  A full cycle will include transferring all viable frozen embryos produced by that cycle until a pregnancy is achieved or viable embryos run out.  It is not envisaged that there will be more than 4 frozen embryo transfers in a cycle.

IUI (intrauterine insemination) and DI (donor insemination)  

Up to three cycles of IUI (stimulated or non-stimulated) will be provided for couples with unexplained fertility, mild endometriosis or mild male factor infertility. They will then access IVF treatment if appropriate. Up to six cycles (dependent on availability of donor sperm) will be offered for couples with male azoospermia.

Donor Sperm

Donor sperm is funded.

Donor Eggs

Funding for additional costs associated with treatment using donor eggs is available but there is a long waiting list for this treatment. 

Egg and Sperm Storage

Embryo and sperm storage will be funded for patients who are undergoing NHS fertility treatment.  Storage will be funded for a maximum of 3 years or until 6 months post successful live birth, whichever is the shorter.

HIV/Hep B/Hep C

If you have HIV / HEP B / Hep C, special procedures for accessing treatment apply and patients may be referred from the Assisted Conception Unit to a different regional centre.


Surrogacy arrangements are not funded, but Wakefield will fund treatment (IVF component and storage) in identified (fertile) surrogates, where this is the most suitable treatment for a couples’ infertility problem and the eligibility criteria are met.  

Eligibility Criteria For Treatment

  • The female patient must be between the age of 23-39 years unless there is very good reason to start fertility treatment younger. No new cycle should start after the patient’s 40th birthday
  • Couples need to have been co-habiting in a stable relationship for a minimum of 2 years
  • Treatment limits are per couple and per individual.  For example, a woman in a heterosexual relationship undergoes maximum number of cycles with one partner, she is not entitled to further cycles. A woman in a same sex couple undergoes maximum number of cycles with one partner, her partner is not then also entitled to maximum number of cycles.
  • Neither partner should have any living children (including adopted children) from that or previous relationships.
  • The female patient should have a healthy weight defined as a BMI between 19 and 30.
  • IVF treatment for patients who are sterilised is not funded.
  • Couples who have previously paid for IVF themselves are still entitled to NHS treatment
  • Couples will be assessed as to whether they can meet the needs of a child according to HFEA criteria


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