The HSE has announced that it will introduce publicly funded fertility treatment services from September 2023.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, confirmed today that this will include treatments such as IVF, IUI and ICSI for people who meet a list of access criteria.
Speaking about the new services coming into effect, Dr Clíona Murphy, Clinical Director, HSE National Women and Infants Health Programme said: “This is the first and very exciting phase in the rollout of Assisted Human Reproductive Services in Ireland and an important development to support people who need fertility treatments.”
Dr. Murphy went on to say she is delighted to see this kind of investment for the women of Ireland and foresees it easing the financial burden on public patients trying to conceive.
It will also ensure safe access to quality services for people in the public health system “so that fertility issues are addressed through the public health system at the lowest level of clinical intervention necessary.”
Recent research found that 74% of the public support publicly funded fertility treatments to help people conceive.
The service will initially be provided by approved private providers on behalf of the HSE, while the HSE over time builds up a network of public capacity to deliver the service directly within the public health system.
“We will work closely with the approved private providers and aim to have services available across the country, to support eligible people in accessing services as close to where they live as possible,” a statement from the HSE reassured.
How to access these services
According to the latest information available on the incoming scheme, people who are experiencing fertility issues will first have to talk to their GP. During these consultations, initial tests will be carried out.
Patients can then be referred by their GP to their local Regional Fertility Hub, if initial testing proves there is an issue.
Then you can expect to avail of a wide range of investigations and interventions including:
- relevant blood tests
- semen analysis
- fertility-related surgeries
- medical management of fertility challenges including ovulation induction with follicle tracking
There are six regional fertility hubs within public maternity hospital networks across the country that are already providing services to people experiencing fertility issues.
The hubs currently receive approximately 150 new referrals on a monthly basis.
From September, if further advanced treatment is recommended by a Reproductive Medical Consultant and the patients meet the Access Criteria, the hubs will refer patients to a HSE-approved private provider of their choosing.
There will be no cost to patients for the recommended treatment through the private providers.
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