New HFEA Guide to infertility shows birth rates following IVF treatment continue to increase

New information helps patients to balance risks and benefits of treatment

Birth rates for women having IVF treatment in the UK have continued to increase according to the clinic data with the 2006–07 HFEA Guide to Infertility, launched today (Friday).

The HFEA Guide to Infertility is the most authoritative guide to infertility and infertility treatment in the UK, bringing together details of the various causes and conditions which give rise to infertility, information on the range of the various treatment options available and real-life stories showing how people have dealt with their infertility.

The associated clinic data is available through an interactive search facility on the HFEA website www.hfea.gov.uk . It combines details of every licensed fertility clinic in the UK and the services offered with details of every cycle of IVF treatment given and every child born.

The new clinic data was based on 38264 cycles of treatment given to 29688 women between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004.

During this period there were:

  • 8251 births giving rise to 10242 children. This gives an overall live birth rate for all IVF of 21.6%, up from 20.4% on the previous year
  • Birth rates saw an increase across all age groups
  • However multiple births – the single biggest risk of IVF – remained high, despite falling from the previous year. Nearly 1 in 4 (23.6%) of IVF births resulted in either twins or triplets

Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the HFEA, said
"One in seven couples across the UK, roughly 3.5 million people, have trouble conceiving and we know that when people start to experience fertility problems they eagerly search out all the information they can on the subject.

"Patients are becoming increasingly demanding of information to help them choose their medical care. The new HFEA Guide to Infertility and interactive clinic search provides the single and authoritative source of expert information that people can trust.

"We have done a lot of work with patients and professionals over the past year to make sure our Guide and clinic data gives people what they need in the form that they want it.

"We have developed a powerful interactive internet search facility to ensure people get information about clinics tailored to their individual circumstances rather than generalisations which could, at worst, be misleading.

"With patients telling us that they typically put aside between £4000 and £8000 for each IVF attempt, this Guide enables them to make better informed choices about how and where they seek treatment."

Angela McNab, Chief Executive of the HFEA, said:
"We are pleased to see that overall live birth rates have improved from last year's Guide to Infertility across all age groups.

"However we are still concerned about the levels of twin and triplet pregnancies, which provide the single biggest risk to mothers and their children from IVF treatment. Multiple births risk endangering the health of both mother and the children they are carrying and can lead to problems which can last a child's lifetime."

She added: "With tens of millions of pounds of NHS money going into fertility treatment each year, we hope the detail and quality of the information with this years Guide to Infertility will help the people making NHS funding decisions to make the wisest use of their limited resources."

Ends


Notes to editors

The HFEA is the independent regulator for IVF treatment and embryo research. Our role is to protect patients and the public interest, to drive improvement in the treatment and research sectors and to provide information to the public and policymakers about treatment and research.

The HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The HFEA's principal tasks are to license and monitor clinics that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), donor insemination (DI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos.

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Page last updated: 11 March 2009