About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an update on how long eligible patients waited from referral to a screening appointment for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment by the NHS in Scotland. The standard is for 90% of eligible patients to be screened at an IVF Centre within 52 weeks of receipt of a referral from a secondary care/acute consultant.

Main points

During the quarter ending 30 September 2022:

  • 334 patients attended an IVF screening appointment, an 11.9% reduction in comparison with the previous quarter (379 patients). Over the last year (October 2021 to September 2022), the average number of patients screened each month was 125, similar to pre-pandemic levels during 2019 (122 patients). Of the four IVF Centres, only the Edinburgh Centre screened more patients (34.6%) than their pre-pandemic average.
Image caption Number of eligible patients referred, screened and waiting to be screened across Scotland, January 2018 - September 2022
  • The 90% standard was met during the quarter ending 30 September 2022, with 100% of patients attending a screening appointment within 52 weeks of referral.
  • All patients waited 39 weeks or less to be screened. Of that, 76.4% were screened within 26 weeks, a greater proportion than in the previous quarter (62.5%).
  • 294 patients were referred to IVF Centres, a reduction of 10.6% compared to the previous quarter (329 referrals). For the period October 2021 to September 2022, the average number of referrals each month was 16.4% fewer than during 2019, prior to the pandemic. The Aberdeen and Edinburgh Centres received more referrals (20.7% and 25.9%), while fewer referrals were received by the Dundee and Glasgow Centres (58.2% and 52.5%).
  • 597 patients were waiting for a screening appointment, 3.9% fewer than at 30 June 2022 (621 patients) and 24.5% fewer than a year ago (791 patients). Of those patients waiting, 52.3% had been waiting 13 weeks or less, with 5.1% waiting 27 weeks or more. Of the four IVF Centres, only the Glasgow Centre waiting list is higher than their pre-pandemic average.

Background

IVF is an effective method of assisted reproductive technology used to treat infertility.  This includes intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) for male infertility. Where this publication refers to IVF, it includes IVF and ICSI. One full cycle of IVF includes ovulation induction, egg retrieval, fertilisation, transfer of fresh embryos, followed by freezing of suitable embryos and subsequent replacement of these provided the couple still fulfil the access criteria.

Each of the 14 territorial NHS Boards in Scotland commissions cycles of IVF from one of the four specialist tertiary Centres providing NHS treatment (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow).

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 28 February 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.ivf@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 22 November 2022
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