Thank you for contacting me about fertility treatment.
According to the current guidelines, women aged under 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if they have been trying to get pregnant for two years or have not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination.
Provision of NHS fertility treatment is decided at a local level by Clinical Commissioning Groups. I know that the Government has made clear that blanket restrictions on treatment are unacceptable and all decisions on treatment should be made by doctors based on a patient's individual clinical needs and in line with NICE guidelines.
NICE guidelines seek to offer heterosexual and same-sex couples the same access to investigation and treatment for fertility problems, the criterion for which is a failure to conceive over a set period of time. NICE sets that criterion to ensure that NHS funding is available for donor sperm for female same-sex couples, or surrogacy arrangements for male same-sex couples, on the basis that they are medically sub-fertile, not that their childlessness is owing to the absence of gametes from the opposite sex—sperm or eggs.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority outlines that there are a number of options available for single women, including egg freezing, intrauterine insemination (IUI), surrogacy, or in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The primary fertility treatment for single women is IUI: you may be offered IUI on the NHS if you have not conceived after up to six cycles of IUI using a donor sperm from a licensed fertility unit, and comply with other eligibility requirements for fertility treatment, such as not smoking and being a healthy weight.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.