IVF funding options – we help people make informed decisions

Many areas have withdrawn NHS funding for IVF so more people now need to self-fund their treatment.

Rebecca Ward is Patient Services Lead for Bourn Hall in the Anglia region and she is often asked about the options that are available to make IVF more accessible.

Here Rebecca talks about her role and answers some of the most frequently asked questions about self-funding. The Bourn Hall Patient Services team responds to over 300 enquiries via phone call or email each week.

Rebecca Ward

“The most enjoyable part of working at Bourn Hall is talking to patients and helping them get the information they need in order to make the best decision for them. Even though this will be only a small part of their journey with us, I like being able to make a contribution towards making this journey as smooth and easy as possible for them.”

Many areas have withdrawn NHS funding for IVF so more people now need to self-fund their treatment.

Rebecca Ward is Patient Services Lead for Bourn Hall in the Anglia region and she is often asked about the options that are available to make IVF more accessible.

Here Rebecca talks about her role and answers some of the most frequently asked questions about self-funding. The Bourn Hall Patient Services team responds to over 300 enquiries via phone call or email each week.

How did you come to work at Bourn Hall?

For several years I worked in a fertility unit in a hospital in the Channel Islands, so this position at Bourn Hall – the world’s first IVF clinic – where I am talking to people at the start of their fertility journey, really appealed to me.

I joined Bourn Hall as a Patient Services Administrator in 2014 and became part of the central enquires team the following year. In 2017 I was promoted to the lead role for Cambridge and then regional lead for all our clinics in Anglia in the middle of 2018.

Rebecca Ward

“The most enjoyable part of working at Bourn Hall is talking to patients and helping them get the information they need in order to make the best decision for them. Even though this will be only a small part of their journey with us, I like being able to make a contribution towards making this journey as smooth and easy as possible for them.”

This means I coordinate patient services staff at our Cambridge, Norwich and King’s Lynn clinics.

My role is all about ensuring that people have the right information early on, so they can make informed decisions. Sometimes I have to give answers that people don’t necessarily want to hear, but at Bourn Hall our philosophy is never to give false hope so we are always very honest with our patients and those who are considering treatment.

Are you asked about NHS funding for IVF?

Sadly, there are an increasing number of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that are withdrawing funding for IVF. This varies a lot across this region, so people need to check first with their GP to see what is available to them.

However, the rules about how many cycles the NHS will fund and the eligibility criteria keep changing so I advise people to start treatment as soon as possible once they have been referred, as the funding may not be secure.

We’ve developed a map that provides an overview of which CCGs fund IVF in the East of England to offer patients a guide.

What are the options for those who self-fund IVF treatment?

Patients can pay-as-they-go for IVF treatment; if they are successful on the first attempt then this can be the cheapest option. However, for some it can also add stress: if more treatment is needed then they have to consider the medical options and make financial decisions at the same time.

This is why we partner with Access Fertility to offer IVF multi-cycle and refund packages.

By using Access Fertility, patients can agree in advance a package of treatment for a fixed fee*. For many people this removes one element of stress. Access Fertility provides a number of different programmes so patients often need detailed information to help them choose what is right for them.

How did you come to work at Bourn Hall?

For several years I worked in a fertility unit in a hospital in the Channel Islands, so this position at Bourn Hall – the world’s first IVF clinic – where I am talking to people at the start of their fertility journey, really appealed to me.

I joined Bourn Hall as a Patient Services Administrator in 2014 and became part of the central enquires team the following year. In 2017 I was promoted to the lead role for Cambridge and then regional lead for all our clinics in Anglia in the middle of 2018.

This means I coordinate patient services staff at our Cambridge, Norwich and King’s Lynn clinics.

My role is all about ensuring that people have the right information early on, so they can make informed decisions. Sometimes I have to give answers that people don’t necessarily want to hear, but at Bourn Hall our philosophy is never to give false hope so we are always very honest with our patients and those who are considering treatment.

Are you asked about NHS funding for IVF?

Sadly, there are an increasing number of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that are withdrawing funding for IVF. This varies a lot across this region, so people need to check first with their GP to see what is available to them.

However, the rules about how many cycles the NHS will fund and the eligibility criteria keep changing so I advise people to start treatment as soon as possible once they have been referred, as the funding may not be secure.

We’ve developed a map that provides an overview of which CCGs fund IVF in the East of England to offer patients a guide.

What are the options for those who self-fund IVF treatment?

Patients can pay-as-they-go for IVF treatment; if they are successful on the first attempt then this can be the cheapest option. However, for some it can also add stress: if more treatment is needed then they have to consider the medical options and make financial decisions at the same time.

This is why we partner with Access Fertility to offer IVF multi-cycle and refund packages.

By using Access Fertility, patients can agree in advance a package of treatment for a fixed fee*. For many people this removes one element of stress. Access Fertility provides a number of different programmes so patients often need detailed information to help them choose what is right for them.

Access Fertility programmes at a glance - more details below

IVF funding options from Access Fertility
IVF funding options from Access Fertility

The three main Access Fertility Programmes

Multi-cycle packages

Women aged under 45 having treatment with their own eggs can have two cycles of fresh IVF and unlimited associated frozen embryo transfers for a fixed price.

The benefit of this is that if patients need more than one attempt the price is less than the pay as you go equivalent and patient decision making is less affected by financial pressures.

Money-Back Guarantee packages

Women aged up to 39 having treatment with their own eggs can choose from a number of refund programme options.

Patients can opt for two or three fresh cycles with unlimited associated frozen embryo transfers for a fixed price with a money-back guarantee if they do not have a baby following these treatment cycles.

The fixed price will vary depending on the level of refund patients choose which can be 50%, 70% or 100% of their money back if they are unsuccessful at the end of the programme.

IVF Unlimited

This option is available to women aged under 38 having treatment using their own eggs. It means patients can have as many cycles as they wish in a two year period for a fixed fee and if they don’t have a baby they will receive 100% of their money back.

Acceptance onto any of the refund programmes is subject to a medical review and for all programmes patients must use their frozen embryos before starting the next fresh cycle.

Rebecca points out that if patients are successful on their first cycle these options will be more expensive than just paying Bourn Hall directly on a pay as you go basis. Patients will receive individualised advice from one of our consultants at Bourn Hall to help them with the best treatment plan for them.

There are slightly different criteria for each of the 15 programmes. Some criteria is across-the-board, such as all women must use their own eggs and be under 45 years old, but specific age parameters also apply for specific packages.

A full breakdown of the criteria is available at Bourn Hall’s website or in a booklet, which can be picked up from our clinics, or that patients receive in their welcome pack.

The Patient Services team is always happy to try and help patients decide on which is the right self-funding package for them and Access Fertility also provides advice.

Deciding how to fund your IVF treatment is a big decision.

In the video Melanie and Gary discuss their experience. 

If you have problems viewing the video on the blog you can watch it on YouTube here.

Access Fertility Frequently Asked Questions

Are fertility drugs included in the Access Fertility Packages?

Some patients who I speak to are disappointed that the Access Fertility programmes do not include the cost of drugs, but everyone is so different that it is impossible to create an ‘off the shelf’ drugs package. This is why the drugs that patients need must be charged separately from the packages, to avoid underspend for some and overspend for others.

Access Fertility programmes start at £6,800 for two full cycles of IVF plus any associated frozen embryo transfers.

How is eligibility for Access Fertility packages decided?

Some Access Fertility programmes require you to have a medical assessment and any previous treatment will also be taken into consideration. This is because Access Fertility needs to assess your chances of success before they can agree the best package for you.

It might be that Access Fertility decides that although you are not able to join one of its programmes, you might be eligible for another.

This feedback doesn’t mean that Bourn Hall won’t be able to treat you as you always have the option to pay Bourn Hall directly for your treatment.

What is the benefit of the IVF Unlimited programme?

Guidance from the UK’s national health body, NICE, recommends that women under 40 should be able to access three full cycles of IVF treatment to have the best possible chance of getting pregnant.

When women are able to access this level of treatment, Bourn Hall is able to help 8 out of 10 couples take home a baby.

I am 39 now – if I take up an Access Fertility package what will happen when I turn 40?

The Access Fertility treatment-support packages have an age cut-off. However, the way that Access Fertility works is that, whatever age you are when you sign up for the programme then that’s the age you’re considered throughout the programme. It doesn’t matter what your next birthday is.

For example, the IVF Refund Programme is for women under 40 using their own eggs. So if you are 39 or less before you start the programme then you can continue until you complete all your cycles in that programme.

“We understand that these are big decisions,” says Rebecca, “and we are happy to give patients as much time and information as they need.”

 

*the fixed fee does not include the initial consultation, pre-treatment tests or medication.

More information

See more information about multi-cycle funding here.

Find out more about the refund packages here.

Read more about the Unlimited IVF package here.

The CEO of Access Fertility, Ash Carroll-Miller, has written a guest blog for us about how Access Fertility is helping people – read it here.

Bourn Hall is also running a special offer of a £500 discounts for Wickford patients – see more details here and read what Ash had to say about the offer here.

If you have any questions about funding support for your treatment, please contact the patient services team on 01954 717210.

Alternatively, please use the form below to contact us.


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