State to pay for embryos to be stored for up to two years

A new State-funded fertility treatment scheme will include the freezing of embryos for up to two years, the Health Service Executive has confirmed.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the HSE’s Dr Cliona Murphy said: “A full publicly funded cycle of IVF will comprise of one episode of ovarian stimulation.

“That’s developing the eggs and then transferring any resultant fresh or frozen embryos until such time as all embryos have been used – or the treatment results in a live birth.

“This means frozen embryos could be used in future attempts, so potentially somebody could get pregnant on the third try of that cycle.”

The funding includes specific treatments at private fertility clinics nationwide.

The cost of these varies from €900 for IUI while one round of ICSI costs upwards of €5,700.

Free treatment in fertility clinics will not be offered to same-sex couples, single people or couples using donated eggs or sperm, though that will change when a forthcoming AHR bill passes the Oireachtas.

It will be offered to applicants who are in a relationship with their current partner for at least one year. There is no requirement to be married.