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Regional Fertility Centre

Regional Fertility Centre

The Regional Fertility Centre has created a patient information video which includes an overview of what patients can expect when they are referred to the Regional Fertility Centre in Belfast Trust for fertility investigations and treatment

Please note that over the Christmas period the RFC will be operating a reduced service. If you require medical assistance over the holiday period please call out of hours staff on 028 9615 1037 or 028 9615 0596.


Department of Health announce increase in funded IVF provision

International Donor Conception Awareness Day

Changes to Storage Laws

Important changes to storage laws

Patient Support Policy launched


Department of Health announce increase in funded IVF provision

Read the Minister’s statement on the Department of Health website.

Patients with queries regarding the new RFC treatment criteria can submit them to the RFC via:

Email: rfctreatmentcriteria@belfasttrust.hscni.net

We will endeavour to respond to all emails within 5 working days.

FAQs on eligibility for increased provision

What is the current level of publicly funded IVF treatment?

Eligible women are currently entitled to one fresh and one frozen embryo transfer (or two frozen if it is not possible to transfer a fresh embryo for clinical reasons), even if the first transfer results in a live birth. This will not change. However, women who do not have a live birth from either of these transfers, and have been placed on the waiting list for their publicly funded IVF/ICSI treatment on or after 1 October 2022, and still have frozen embryos, will be entitled to further FET until they have a live birth, or all remaining frozen embryos have been transferred.

I was placed on the waiting list for my publicly funded IVF/ICSI treatment offer on 30 September 2022, or a date before this. Can I avail of this additional treatment?

No, unfortunately you cannot, additional treatment is only available for women who meet the eligibility criteria for IVF/ICSI AND are placed on the waiting list for their publicly funded IVF treatment on or after 1 October 2022.

I don’t have any frozen embryos, can I get extra treatment?

No, unfortunately you must have frozen embryos available as well as meeting the other criteria for treatment to benefit from additional treatment.

I was added to the RFC waiting list as a new patient on or after 1 October 2023, am I eligible for extra treatment?

As you have been placed on the waiting list for your IVF/ICSI treatment after the effective date of 1 October 2022, you will potentially be eligible for extra treatment, depending on whether, for example, you have already had a live birth and/or have any frozen embryos remaining. Eligible women are currently entitled to one fresh and one frozen embryo transfer (or two frozen if it is not possible to transfer a fresh embryo for clinical reasons), even if the first transfer results in a live birth. You can only receive additional publicly funded FET if neither of your first two transfers are result in a live birth, and you still have frozen embryos.

I had a fresh and a frozen embryo transfer. My fresh transfer was sadly not successful, but my frozen embryo transfer was successful and I had a baby. I still have frozen embryos. Am I entitled to further treatment?

No, as your treatment was successful on your second cycle, you are not eligible for further publicly funded treatment. In line with the new criteria, you can only receive additional publicly funded FET if neither of your first two transfers result in a live birth, and you still have frozen embryos.

I’ve had a fresh embryo transfer which was successful and I had a baby. I have frozen embryos left. Am I eligible for further treatment?

Yes, in line with the existing treatment provision, although your fresh transfer was successful, you are still entitled to one further publicly funded frozen embryo transfer. However, whether or not your frozen embryo transfer results in another live birth, you will not be entitled to any further treatment after that.

I’ve had a fresh embryo transfer which was successful and I had a baby. I do not have any frozen embryos. Am I eligible for further treatment?

No. As you do not have any frozen embryos, you are not eligible for any further treatment.

I’ve had a fresh embryo transfer which was unsuccessful, but I do not have any frozen embryos. Am I eligible for further treatment?

Unfortunately, if you do not have any frozen embryos, you will not be able to avail of any further treatment.

The RFC will be in a position to send appointment letters to eligible women placed on the waiting list on or after 1 October 2022 from 19 February 2024. Letters will be sent out to patients in chronological order according to the waiting list.

International Donor Conception Awareness Day

The 27th April 2023 marked International Donor Conception Awareness Day, and the HFEA are urging donors to update their contact details so donor conceived individuals can be provided with accurate information when donor identifiable information is released.

As the first donor conceived children become eligible to find their donor since the removal of donor anonymity in the UK, HFEA data shows that over 750 donor conceived people can find their donor by the end of 2024, with the first donor conceived individual eligible to apply in October 2023.

As the HFEA prepare to support the first people affected by the historic changes to donor anonymity law, we ask you to please help us by encouraging anyone who donated sperm or eggs after 1 April 2005 at the RFC to update your contact details to avoid disappointing donor conceived individuals.

To change your address or any other details, please contact the RFC on 028 9615 9600 and select Admin. Please also ensure you change these details with your GP to avoid details reverting to your previous address on our system.

 

Changes to Storage Laws

Changes to Storage Laws From 1 July 2022, a new law means that: 1. All patients can store their eggs, sperm and embryos for their own treatment for up to 55 years, as long as they reconsent every 10 years. 2. Donors can store their eggs or sperm for use up to 55 years and do not need to renew their consent. 3. As long as patients consent to their sperm, eggs or embryos being used in the event of their death, they can remain in storage up to 10 years from they pass away.

From 1 July 2022, a new law means that:
1. All patients can store their eggs, sperm and embryos for their own treatment for up to 55 years, as long as they reconsent every 10 years.
2. Donors can store their eggs or sperm for use up to 55 years and do not need to renew their consent.
3. As long as patients consent to their sperm, eggs or embryos being used in the event of their death, they can remain in storage up to 10 years from they pass away.

The change in the law will also mean that new HFEA consent forms must be used. All patients will be contacted by the unit in due course to renew storage consents.

Renewing your consent:

The RFC will attempt to contact you at least 12 months before the expiry of each consent period to ask whether you wish to continue storage or not. When contacted, it is very important that you reply to us and let us know your wishes.

Change of Contact Details, Circumstances and Keeping in touch:

It is essential that you keep us informed of any changes to your contact details, GP or to your relationship status. We sometimes find it difficult to contact patients after long periods of time particularly if they have moved house or country. It is also important that you make the RFC aware of any changes in your circumstances which may affect your consent decision (for example, if you have separated from your partner or have a new partner).

For further information please click here.

Important changes to storage laws

On 1 July 2022, new laws came into effect regarding the storage of sperm, eggs and embryos. The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, increasing the 10 year statutory storage limit.

This law change allows you to store your material for up to 55 years if you wish. There are also new provisions relating to the use of your material after your death or in the event of mental incapacity.

In line with these changes, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have issued new consent forms that need to be completed by anyone having treatment after 1 July 2022. Patients who previously consented to treatment will be required to consent again using these new forms.

This extra step is currently causing a backlog in the Nursing Consenting Service. We appreciate your patience and are working very hard to resolve this issue. We would ask that you do not contact the Nursing Consenting Service during this time. We will contact you as soon as possible to get your consents completed.

If any changes relate to your current consent to storage, you will be contacted by the Regional Fertility Centre in due course.


Patient Support Policy launched

The Regional Fertility Centre, in partnership with colleagues from Fertility Counselling Service NI and Fertility Network UK, has launched the Patient Support Policy.

Couple sitting together

The group has structured a policy for supporting patients through their fertility journey in conjunction with medical treatment, addressing mental welfare and the emotional experience of care before, during and after treatment.