Up to 3,000 couples may be able to avail of publicly funded IVF treatment next year under funding announced in Budget 2023.
The full outline of the scheme, including whether it would be means-tested and how many rounds of fertility treatment a person could avail of, have yet to be worked out.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly hopes to be in a position to announce full details of the scheme well in advance of it being rolled out in September 2023.
Mr Donnelly said €10 million was allocated in the budget towards publicly funded IVF treatment, but it will take a number of years to "fully build up" the system to a State-funded model.
Currently around 9,000 couples avail of IVF treatment from private clinics across the country. It is not known how many more couples travel abroad for treatment.
With one IVF cycle costing around €5,000, it is estimated that the cost to the Exchequer of funding treatment for all couples who wish to avail of it would be around €45 million a year.
This rises to €180 million a year if all couples were entitled to four State-funded IVF cycles.
A spokesperson for the minister said it is anticipated that once the system is in place from next September, it is possible that around 3,000 couples could avail of publicly funded treatment next year.
Under proposals being discussed, IVF treatment would be provided initially through private clinics with public clinics eventually providing the State-funded service.
Mr Donnelly said issues such as how the system will work, the criteria and who will qualify are still to be determined.