A Guide To The HSE’s Publicly Funded Fertility Treatment.

Your Questions Answered

We are proud to be a HSE Approved Fertility Clinic for their Publicly Funded Fertility Treatment Scheme. 

We’ve been receiving questions about this scheme and have created the following guide based on our understanding. As more information becomes available, we will update these FAQs. (Last update: January 31, 2024)

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1. What is the HSE Funded Fertility Treatment Scheme?

OVERVIEW:

  • It is a Government- Funded Scheme with an allotment of 10 Million Euro to provide Free Fertility Services through the HSE to couples struggling to conceive. The scheme commenced in September, 2023.

 

  • Couples must meet the qualifying criteria outlined in Point 2 below to be eligible for a referral for this HSE scheme.

 

  • Patients must first attend their own GP. Their GP can provide advise on fertility issues and perform some initial tests.

 

  • Their GP can then refer them to one of the six HSE Regional Fertility Hubs for additional tests and interventions. Subject to eligibility, The Regional Fertility Hub may elect to refer the patient to a HSE-approved Private Fertility Clinic (of the patient’s choice) for further, advanced treatment if necessary.

 

  • There are currently six HSE Fertility Hubs in Ireland located in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Tipperary.

 

  • Beacon CARE Fertility is a participating Clinic in this scheme and welcomes HSE patients. 

2. What is the Eligibility Criteria from the HSE?

To be considered for this free scheme, the HSE have outlined the following eligibility criteria below. It is not means-tested:

  • Women must be aged 40 or under. Men must be aged 59 or under
  • Women need to have a BMI of between 18.5 and 30
  • Be a resident of the Republic of Ireland
  • Be in a relationship with your partner for at least 1 year 
  • Have never had a voluntary sterilisation procedure to prevent pregnancy. This includes blocking or sealing your fallopian tubes or having a vasectomy
  • Have no living children with your current partner. This includes any children to whom you are a legal guardian
  • You cannot access this free treatment if you have had more than 1 round of IVF previously, or have unused embryos in storage
  • At least one partner must not have a living child
  • Lifestyle: All intending parents should:
    • Be non-smoking for at least three months
    • Be non-users of recreational drugs for at least three months
    • Have no more than one or two standard alcoholic drinks once or twice per week for the female. 
    • Have no more than three to four standard drinks per-day for the male. Ideally, ten or fewer standard drinks should be consumed over a week for the male

Man typing on a computer with coffee by his side

 

3. What Fertility Treatment is covered in this Scheme?

  • One full cycle of IVF*
  • 1 round of ICSI
  • 3 rounds of IUI

*The HSE note that “This includes a fresh cycle and as many frozen cycles with your frozen embryos (if you have them) as are needed to have a baby.”

4. What Fertility Treatment is NOT covered by the Scheme:

Treatments that are not covered by this scheme partially include:

  • Genetic Testing of Embryos
  • Treatments involving Donor Eggs
  • Treatments involving Donor Sperm. 
  • Egg Freezing

The HSE states that “assisted conception will become available in the future to people who need to use donor eggs and sperm when required regulation is in place”.

 

5. What are the steps involved in accessing the Scheme?

  1. Check you meet the criteria outlined in Point 2
  2. Make an appointment with your GP who can perform initial tests and offer advice.
  3. Your GP may then refer you to a HSE Regional Fertility Hub. There are currently six hubs in Ireland. You cannot refer yourself to a Regional Fertility Hub.
  4. The Regional Fertility Hub will assess you at your appointment and can perform a wider range of diagnostic tests,  interventions and treatments if deemed necessary. It is currently unclear how long it will take to obtain an appointment time, but as with all Publicly Provided Healthcare, it will likely depend on the demand for the service. 
  5. If your Consultant at the Regional Fertility Hub deems that advanced treatment such as IVF, ICSI or IUI is clinically indicated, eligible patients will then be referred to a HSE-Approved Private Fertility Clinic of their choice. (Beacon CARE Fertility is a HSE-Approved Fertility Clinic). 
  6. The Private Fertility Clinic will then take over the care of the patient. 

Male and female couple sitting across from a doctor at a table.

6. Where are the Regional Fertility Hubs located in Ireland?

There are currently six Regional Fertility Hubs. 

  • Three are located in Dublin (The National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street, The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and The Rotunda)
  • One is located in Cork (Cork University Maternity Hospital)
  • One is located in Galway (University Hospital Galway) 
  • One is located in Nenagh, Tipperary (Nenagh Hospital)

 

7. Is there a waiting list for an appointment at a Regional Fertility Hub?

As with all Publicly Provided Healthcare, it depends on the demand for the service. The HSE has stated that: “it may take 3 months to be seen by a specialist in a regional fertility hub. This is from when your GP or consultant refers you.”

8. I am concerned about my age and possible waiting times. What can I do?

As Fertility is impacted by age, time can be of the essence when dealing with Fertility Matters. A woman’s fertility declines with age and starts to decrease at a faster pace from the age of 35.

If you are concerned that potential waiting times may impact your chances of success, we suggest arranging a Consultation with a Fertility Doctor as soon as you can. The Doctor can assess and help to advise you if your personal situation is time-sensitive. 

 

9. Is Beacon CARE Fertility a HSE Approved Fertility Clinic?

Yes. We are an approved HSE Fertility Clinic.

If your Consultant at the Regional Fertility Hub subscribes IVF, ICSI or IUI for you, you can select an Approved Fertility Clinic (including ours) to perform the treatment. 

 

Doctor in white coat sitting across a table from a male and female couple sitting down on chairs