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.

The statistics available in this release continue to be constrained by the availability of fully comprehensive data from the Glasgow IVF Centre. Prior to the May 2023 release, issues were identified with some aspects of data previously submitted by this IVF Centre. Progress has been made to address these issues and as a result, some previously published statistics have changed. In this release PHS can report on the number of patients screened and performance against the waiting time standard, for both the Glasgow IVF Centre and Scotland as whole for the period January 2017 to September 2023. However, there are constraints to being able to report on the full time series for other metrics normally available from the dataset (please see the main report for more details). A full dataset is published for the 3 other IVF Centres.

Main points

During the quarter ending 30 September 2023:

  • the 90% standard was met, with 99.7% of patients attending a screening appointment within 52 weeks of referral. One patient waited more than 52 weeks to be screened.
  • 337 patients attended an IVF screening appointment. Although this is similar to the same quarter a year ago (341 patients), it remains 8.2% less than the pre-pandemic average of quarters during 2019.

The number of patients waiting across Scotland at 30 September 2023 is unavailable. At 31 May 2023 (the most recent data available):

  • 937 patients were waiting to be screened. This is an increase of 16.1% compared to the previous year at 31 May 2022 and of 21.4% compared to 31 December 2019 prior to the start of the pandemic.
Image caption Number of patients referred, screened and waiting to be screened across Scotland, January 2018 to September 2023


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 and transfer of fresh embryos, followed by freezing of suitable embryos and subsequent replacement of these provided the couple still fulfil the access criteria.

Each NHS Board 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 27 February 2023.

General enquiries

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

Media enquiries

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

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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: 19 February 2024
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