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 31 December 2022:

  • The 90% standard was met, with 99.6% of patients attending a screening appointment within 52 weeks of referral.
  • 284 patients attended an IVF screening appointment, compared to 334 patients during the previous quarter (-15%). Although fewer patients were screened at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow (-25.5%, -52.9% and -9.9% respectively), Edinburgh has the most influence on the lower Scotland total. Screening levels across Scotland during the quarter were 22.6% fewer when compared to the average in 2019 (prior to the pandemic).
Image caption Number of eligible patients referred, screened and waiting to be screened across Scotland, January 2018 to December 2022
  • 98.9% of all patients waited 39 weeks or less to be screened, similar to the previous quarter (100%). Of that, 70.4% were screened within 26 weeks, a lower proportion than in the previous quarter (76.3%).
  • 297 patients were referred to IVF Centres, a reduction of 6.9% compared to the previous quarter (319 referrals). The Aberdeen and Edinburgh Centres received more referrals (+12.1% and +4.7%), while fewer referrals were received by the Dundee and Glasgow Centres (-71.4% and -28.1%) compared with the average received during 2019.

At the end of the quarter on 31 December 2022:

  • 666 patients were waiting for a screening appointment, 6.1% more than at 30 September 2022 (628 patients) and 12.1% fewer than a year ago (758 patients). Of those patients waiting, 47.3% had been waiting 13 weeks or less, with 15.8% waiting 27 weeks or more. Of the four IVF Centres, only the Glasgow Centre waiting list is higher than their pre-pandemic average (+90.3%).


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 30 May 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email 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: 21 March 2024
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