Guidance for Service personnel seeking Assisted Conception Services

NHS England has written a specific commissioning policy for Armed Forces families living in England. This is a really comprehensive source of information that outlines the pathway and criteria for eligible service personnel and their partners to access assisted conception services. It aims to ensure Armed Forces couples receive consistent NHS treatment wherever they are posted in England, which can mean up to 3 cycles of treatment for eligible couples. The policy has been written in accordance with the NICE clinical guidelines to help prevent some of the issues that couples can face due to mobility and regional differentiation between NHS ICB’s.

Guidance and policy

The Defence Instruction Notices (DIN) Assisted Conception Services and Fertility Preservation – 2021DIN01-020 and can be accessed via the MoD Intranet system. It gives policy guidance to those seeking geographical stability when undergoing assisted conception treatment, guidance on assisted conception overseas and for those requiring fertility preservation.

Couples looking to access assisted conception treatment will require one partner to be registered with DMS and will need to make an application for funding.  You can download a copy of the Armed Forces specific application form here: application form N-SC037 to be completed by your GP or the fertility clinic clinician.

The Defence Fertility Network

The Defence Fertility Network is a growing online social media group with over 400 members. It exists to provide individuals, couples and their civilian partners across Defence (Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Civil Servants) who are considering, are on or have been on a fertility journey a welcoming, rankless and confidential support group. It functions primarily as a private Facebook group where members can provide and receive peer support, signposting to relevant resources and the benefit of collective experience when navigating National Health Service and Ministry of Defence policies.

IVF in the devolved Administrations

Each Devolved Administration has a different offer in relation to the number of cycles that are funded.  If you are considering applying for funding for Assisted Conception Services, make sure you are aware of the differences between locations before accepting any new assignment.  If you commence treatment in a location that has a lower offer, then move to England, you may still be able to have 3 cycles as per the NHS England Guidance.  The only point of caution is that if couples do have frozen embryos stored and were to move between the Devolved nations, it can be difficult and costly to transfer, as some ICBs or health boards won’t accept them.

Current guidelines for funded treatment in the Devolved Administrations:

Scotland- eligible patients may be offered up to 3 cycles of IVF. Find out more here NHS Fertility Funding in Scotland

Wales eligible patients may be offered up to 3 cycles of IVF. Find out more here-  NHS Fertility Funding in Wales

Northern Ireland- eligible patients may be offered 1 cycle of IVF. Find out more here:  NHS Fertility Funding in Northern Ireland

What to do if you are overseas

Generally if you are overseas, you will not receive funding for assisted conception treatment. Sometimes however, there is support for fertility investigations to entitled couples. Couples will be advised to return to the UK for treatment. Fertility treatment is not funded for couples during overseas postings, as quality assurances cannot be regulated in line with UK NICE guidelines.

Additional Support

If you are experiencing issues accessing fertility treatment or have any questions relating to assisted conception funding, please contact us at the RAF Families Federation via the ‘Contact Us’ page.