Private IVF or NHS IVF: We are... - Fertility Network UK

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Private IVF or NHS IVF

M20162018 profile image

We are currently on the waiting list for IVF. In Wales I have to be on the list for at least a year as I’m under 36 years old. I’ve also been told that the waiting list may be longer than a year.

I have been told that if I have one round of private IVF it does not impact my 2 free NHS cycles.

Opinions please on going for a private cycle whilst waiting or whether to go through NHS.

My partners BMI is currently too high (he’s 6ft3 big build trains mainly with weights, not massively overweight) - and I’ve read in our IVF pack and read an article that we could be refused because of that (he is on a diet currently and fertility wise has no problems- its all me).

So I also don’t want to wait a year and be told because he’s a few pounds overweight that we can’t have NHS IVF- as BMI means most rugby players are overweight too! I am healthy- always been in the ‘normal’ BMI range and teach dance twice a week. So they can’t say we’re an unhealthy couple.

17 Replies

Hi we had our one and only free NHS treatment at Bristol. We previously went to a private clinic in Bristol because we were so sick of all the messing around and endless pointless appointments. We were told 100% that if we went private first time we would lose our NHS eligibility. If you are allowed to do this, you are really lucky. We would have done it for definite. I think they should do it more to be honest. I think just because you can pay for ivf treatment doesn't necessarily mean you can afford it. After all most of us save our money to give a good life for our children and then end up spending all the money on ivf!! Sorry mini rant there 😂 I'd check for sure you can get NHS funding after going private and also make sure that going private won't delay the NHS one. Good luck with it xx

M20162018 profile image
M20162018 in reply to Lilli79

Thanks for the reply. I totally agree! My sister had IVF 9 years ago and it was totally different- funding and everything.

And as you said we are able to pay for one cycle- but can’t necessarily afford it!

I am waiting for my next appointment to find out exactly how much longer we are waiting and to get them to confirm that it won’t ruin my NHS cycle options.

It does say in my IVF pack that if you have IVF privately then they may take this into consideration. It’s just frustrating as if I had a different post code I would have had a NHS cycle already! So I am being careful not to lose my NHS place.

I’ve also being told that if I was put on clomid in Wales- my English hospital (where I will have IVF) will take me off the IVF waiting list. As I can’t have any other treatment whilst on the list! Hopefully all will make sense in my next appointment. xx

Hi I wasn't eligible for NHS treatment due to my age (I was 39 went I spoke to my gp). I waited too long... stupidly listened to all those know-it-all experts (i.e. friends, family, work colleagues etc.) who said don't stress and it will just happen. Well. It didn't .....

If you arrange an initial consultation and discuss your options, you might be able to get a package deal (as you are under 38). I had all my ivf treatment in Hampshire so no knowledge of going abroad. Some clinics charge for an initial consultation and some don't. Best you get as many tests done on the NHS as it's expensive private - up to date sperm, hepatitis etc. My clinic accepted them if recent. Some my gp said she couldn't get, odd as you will get them through sexual health clinic. The more results they can see, the better the advice you will receive.

I wouldn't say we are rich but we didn't have expensive holidays for a couple of years, don't have the house extension yet and we don't drive new cars...... but after 4 rounds of ivf, I'm due next month and now spending lots on baby stuff.

Hope that helps

Best wishes

Congratulations and enjoy every moment of the spending!

We went over a year ago to see a private doctor as the GP was ignoring my symptoms etc and he said the same as you- to get as many tests done as possible with NHS first. So we’ll see how my next round of results look I guess! Xx

We decided to have our NHS rounds first before considering IVF. I guess cost came down to it and felt that if we did the NHS and it didnt work then we still had money to save up to self fund or if it worked that we could fund a sibbling....if only it was that being naive at the start. However, looking back Im glad that we had the NHS rounds as we learned a lot from our cycles and saw how I reacted to the drugs etc before spending our much worked for pennies. As it turned out I didnt do too well and have had to move onto donor egg but glad I had a bash with my own eggs and that it didnt cost us anything or we could have been thousands down by now....which we are already (but would have been much worse off) and havent gotten pregnant yet. Oh and my partner is not slim...defo overweight (though not massively) and this was never questioned, its was all about me. Good luck with how you decide to move forward!xx

I think it depends what kind of day I’m having. Some days I think don’t be silly wait for the NHS funded cycles. Then other days I would sell my car to just see a private doctor for some answers!ha.

I hope they don’t question his weight. He’s aiming to lose half a stone by our next appt so we can say that he’s on the right track.

Good luck to you with getting pregnant. Xx

Thank you! Hope your appointment goes well. The waiting thing is what I find the hardest....and believe me there's a lot of waiting! ha ha ha xx

I had a private round before my nhs round.

Negative: it delayed my laparoscopy (nhs) because they couldn’t do it whilst I was doing ivf. The ivf failed but I then got pregnant naturally straight after the lap so I think the lap “fixed” me... unfortunately there’s also a problem with hubbie so I ended up miscarrying and needing more ivf.

Positives: 1) I felt better that I wasn’t just wasting time and waiting.

2) The private round of ivf had an unexpectedly poor result in that I only got 3 mature eggs. So on my nhs cycle I was switched to different drugs, icsi and a 37 hour trigger instead of 36. Both icsi and the different drugs were more expensive so I saved money really because I didn’t have to pay for those on my private round. In my area you only get one free nhs round so if i had done the free round then the private round it would have ended up costing more. I got a lot more mature eggs and better fertilisation on the new regime.

3) I got to know the private clinic and was then able to choose them for my nhs round as well.

4) On my first round they identified that my cervix needed dilation to make embryo transfer easier. It’s best practice to do this under general anaesthetic so I was able to have this done during my laparoscopy so I only had to have one operation. So ultimately it was a good thing I had delayed my laparoscopy for the ivf.

Another thing to consider is that, if you are self funding and need to get finance, you are given better deals when you are younger at time of treatment. This didn’t apply to us as we used savings but may apply to you.

For me, the private round was definitely the right choice. However it also depends on why you need ivf and what investigations and treatment you’ve had already. For example, if you haven’t had a laparoscopy you might want to ask your hospital to do this whilst you are on the waiting list.


Good point on no. 2, on our first (NHS) cycle, I was on 150iu of menopur but 2nd (private) cycle I was pushed up to 450iu which was a hell of a lot more expensive! I got 9 eggs first time but only one got to blastocyst, consultant wanted more eggs so he put my dose up but I ended up with only 4!! In fairness though I did end up with 2 blastocysts, but I don't think this was anything to do with the increase in drugs though 😕

Thank you, a lot of very helpful information.

I may need a laparoscopy (ovarian drilling) as I have PCOS but this is what I should find out in next appt. If so I may wait to see how long the wait is for that procedure first.

I just can’t wait to have all my results. Been waiting for my blood test result since August 2017- but they said its best to give all the information at once.


That seems a very long wait for a blood test result... what if it’s changed in the six months since then?! I’d definitely ask if that’s likely.

If you need a lap then really push them to do a hysteroscopy (and a dye test if you haven’t had one) at the same time... it’s minimal effort for them but saves you needing any of those type things later. Also ask them to look for signs of endometriosis if they aren’t planning to do this already (a good gynaecologist should do this alongside ovarian drilling).

I think you’ll be in a better position to decide what to do re:ivf once you have had this appointment. Also definitely query the whole clomid thing as that’s often the first treatment for pcos so I’m surprised you’re on a waiting list for ivf without having tried it.

As I’ve been passed from Wales to England- my Welsh GP or fertility doctor can’t access my results. The English hospital said I get all my results together-I’ve had some bad luck woth appointments. Some were booked when a doctor was on annual leave. So I turned up with a day booked off work and to sit in the waiting room for an hour and a half to be told he wasn’t even on site.

Amongst other things I believe a doctor has left the fertility unit so the results I should have had in December 17 I am now getting this March. Fingers crossed!

I’ve had my dye test done but thanks for the information as it always helps to know.

I have queried the clomid but apparantely England can’t prescribe it to me and Wales have discharged me. I seem to be stuck in some sort of border issue! And then they said they would take me off the list so I just let it go.


Hi M20162018 I'm from Wales and just completed my one and only NHS funded IVF. I would have been entitled to two cycles , however as I paid for 2 private cycles 5 years ago I was only entitled to the one. I was told in October that the waiting list was a year , however I was seen in November and just finished a cycle so it may not be that long. Best of luck

M20162018 profile image
M20162018 in reply to Jen19wills

Fingers crossed they will tell me its all happening in my March appointment then! Best of luck to you too x

I'm a Welsh patient receiving treatment over the border in England but still under Welsh regulations.

It means we have 2 NHS funded rounds, but both my husband and I had to get our BMI to below 30.

We were also told that we weren't able to access private treatment while we waited for our NHS rounds, as we would then lose a go. I think it's worth you checking it out thoroughly, just in case.

It is a year long wait (which feels like a lifetime sometimes!) but we've just started our first round and now it feels like everything is happening really quickly!

Good luck to you both. X

It feels like forever as my appointments were all messed up initially in Wales. So I feel like I should already be at the end of my year!

My husband is going to have to up his dieting game then!

Good luck to you 😊

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