Statement on Daily Express article on IVF terminations

Statistics about the outcome of fertility treatment, of which one possibility is termination, have been available on our website for a number of years. We released additional data about the reasons given for terminations in June 2010 and that too is available on our website.

Around 50 pregnancies following IVF end in a termination each year. That is less than half of one percent of all IVF treatment cycles.

The article claims that the HFEA said ‘a small number were due to medical complications.’ This is simply not the case. Since 1991 a medical reason, for example Down’s Syndrome or Edward’s Syndrome, was given in over 95% of cases where the outcome of treatment was a termination and a reason for the termination was recorded.

In the majority of cases the reason for the outcome is unknown. The claim in this article that the reason was ‘relationship breakdown’ or ‘fear of motherhood’ has no factual basis.

The Authority regrets that the article completely misrepresents the data that was provided. It has the potential to cause enormous distress to those who may have to take the very difficult decision to end their pregnancy.


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), artificial insemination (AI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos.


Page last updated: 06 July 2011

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