Private/NHS systems integrating - Fertility Network UK

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Private/NHS systems integrating


Hi all,

I wonder if anyone else has any experience that could be helpful for me. Sorry this is a bit of a long one.

My husband as azoospermia, we don't know the cause. After our first meeting at the assisted fertility dept in January, the dr we saw said my husband would need to see another urologist to determine what our next steps would be. She advised that we see the urologist privately as the wait for the NHS was very long (it would be the same urologist either way). We did that, and the urologist said my husband would need an MRI to find the exact cause. He said he would put in a referral for my husband to get this on the NHS.

Four weeks later, we have no referral, we are not even on the waiting list yet. The urologist's private secretary knows very little about the NHS and can't give us any details. I'm kind of going mad, are we lost in the system? We paid to speed things up but now don't seem to be on any path.

I could pay for a private MRI, which I don't mind doing, but then how do I know I can integrate the two systems at that point.

I'd be so grateful for any advice or even just sympathy on this very long, emotionally charged road.

17 Replies

We been on the similar situation. What we did, we went physically to MRI department NHS (Where they do all kind of scans cannot remember the exact name of the department). They told us that referral needs to be approved first. Please note that there are 2 waiting lists, one is to get the referral approved and the other one the proper waiting list for MRI scan. So you have to wait long time, I cannot remember very well how many months we waited but it was long enough. I cannot advise about private scan. As a first step probably is good to give a call to the department where you want do the scan, they will have more info for you.

in reply to Ranchu90

That's really helpful thanks Ranchu XX


Hi Ginny. So sorry you are having to wait for his MRI. My thoughts are that as it has been put for the NHS to do, there will be loads of others with life threatening conditions that will probably be ahead of your husband. Check again and see how long you will have to wait, then have it done privately, as you suggested. Hopefully, some trapped puddles of sperm will be found that could be aspirated and used in an ICSI cycle.Good luck! Diane

in reply to DianeArnold

Thanks Diane, fingers crossed!

Hi, sorry to hear your situation, must be so frustrating.

I have been in a similar position and again it was waiting for an MRI. In my case it actually wasnt so much the NHS waiting list (which was about 8-10 weeks from referral) but it was also the confusion of the fact that I had a private consultant referring me for an NHS scan and whilst the same consultant the NHS secretary kept insisting he couldn't do that, and consequently were not booking me an appointment. it might be worth trying to contact the NHS secretary/MRI team to make sure they have the details and if so and there is a problem contact your consultant again. I think its best to check the actual admin is all working.. xx

in reply to Daisy1245

Thanks so much Daisy, I'm in that exact position, I think our referral did not make it to the NHS yet. Did you end up getting your MRI on the NHS?

I'll take your advice and try contact the NHS secretary. Thank you XX

in reply to Ginny27

Hey, glad I could help. I did end up getting my MRI on the NHS and all was good once the consultant got involved! Good luck with getting some answers and your TTC journey xx

Hi, having worked in radiology it would be best to call the MRI dept directly and ask if your referral has been recieved and how long their waiting list is approximately. The secretary will not know this. The referral is vetted by a radiologist and then accepted and put onto the waiting list. If the referral hasn't been sent and recieved then it would be the secretary I would call and ask what is happening. Hope this helps xx

Thanks so much Florence, that's really helpful :)

Hi, I had a similar experience on MRI (on a different condition). My suggestion is that you go back to the first NHS doctor you met, told him/her the feedback from the private doctor, and ask the first doctor to refer you for NHS MRI. This doctor should know how long it takes. If not, I am sure they can check.

If your first doctor is not a NHS doctor, speak to your GP and ask them to refer your husband to NHS MRI. Again, they should know how long it takes.

In summary, you will have to get a NHS doctor / GP to do the referral first. Once the referral goes through, you can call the MRI department to check how long it takes. If you call NHS MRI department directly without any NHS doctor referral, I don't think they will answer you.

Good luck


Thank you so much! that all makes sense, it's so frustrating that I've missed out on all these weeks, but good to have the next steps. thanks again x

Sorry you going through this Similar situation but not IVF related I went private for a procedure for radiofrequency ablation (nerve damage to occipital nerves in back of head) had NHS first app with same doc I saw privately i was still not better so he said would re do NHS I had Priavte in nov and having NHS next week so the wait on NHS is lengthy I would suggest tracking down the NHS sec who deals with the department and just keep on them calls emails etc that’s the only way I got to the point of getting booked in the NHS is so amazing I owe everything to them if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have my daughter and you will be saying the same hopefully sooner rather than later good luck 🍀 xx

in reply to E8989

Ah thank you for your advice, and congratulations to you on having your daughter XX

Sorry I do sympathise with you as my husband has azoospermia and I know how hard the waiting can be for you both. My husband was never offered an MRI he had a physical exam, standard semen analysis (on 2 separate occasions), blood tests to check for dna and hormone analysis and then had the surgical procedure for them to look for sperm but I guess all cases are different. I can advise that nearly all our hospital tests and appointments via the NHS were about a 3 month wait which was hard. It probably depends a lot on how busy your hospital is but if you can afford to go private then I definitely would for your own piece of mind xx

in reply to LKT1

Thanks LKT1, that's the tricky thing isn't it, deciding when to go private. In my mind, I'm trying to save for IVF if/when I need it after NHS, so would really like to avail of NHS now. But the wait is HARD. thanks for your advice xx

in reply to Ginny27

I don’t blame you as we did the same and had an nhs round first. We found the service was just as good it’s just the wait times that are the hardest bit but you will get through them! Best of luck x

We too had the azoospermia diagnosis and the urologist part did take ages. Like LKT1 we didn’t have an MRI, we had blood tests which showed a potential chromosome issue and then genetic counselling before we had a SSR.

Because my OH was so impatient we did it all privately, with the exception of genetic counselling which needed to be NHS. I think a private MRI would be possible and they could then email you the results to send on if that speeds things up.

Good luck xx

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