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New report shows IVF cycles are on the rise but few involve frozen eggs

Figures in our 2014 statistical report show a year on year increase in the number of IVF cycles, but the number of babies born from previously frozen eggs remains very low.

The report, ‘Fertility Treatment in 2014 - Trends and Figures’, covers key information about the number and type of patients treated, the different treatments they had and the pregnancy rates for fertility treatment carried out in 2014. We also report on the birth rates for treatment carried out in 2013.

In 2014, 52,288 women had a total of 67,708 cycles of IVF, maintaining a near 5% year-on-year growth in the number of IVF cycles. Meanwhile, 2,511 women had a total of 4,675 cycles of donor insemination - a 1% increase from the previous year.

Overall success rates continue to rise: the IVF birth rate increased slightly, to 26.5% in 2013 from 25.9% the year before. Importantly, this increase in the birth rate has happened as the multiple birth rate has fallen. Multiple births have dropped from one in four IVF births in 2008 to one in six in 2013, showing that our ‘One at a time’ campaign to reduce multiple births without harming success rates continues to be successful.

Sally Cheshire, chair of the HFEA, welcomed the report as a sign that the UK’s fertility sector is in very good shape:

‘As the UK’s dedicated fertility regulator for 25 years, our goal is to ensure every patient gets the best possible care, and the positive story this report tells is that fertility patients have never had a better chance of having a family in a safe setting. This is testament to the professionalism and expertise of the staff in fertility clinics.’

This year’s report includes, for the first time, data on egg freezing. Although the number of women freezing their eggs has risen from 59 in 2005 to 816 in 2014 (a 25-30% year-on-year growth), the number of eggs being thawed and used in treatment is still very low.

In 2013, only 102 of the total 65,000 IVF cycles performed used previously frozen eggs and the approximate success rate was 14%. This compares with an average 26% success rate of IVF using fresh eggs. The number of IVF cycles with frozen eggs rose to 129 in 2014, although the number of births is not yet known.

Sally continued:

‘These figures send out a very clear message about egg freezing. While there has been much made recently about the rise in ‘social’ egg freezing, the number of frozen eggs actually being used in treatment is still extremely low. New freezing techniques appear to have improved the chance of future success, but it’s still too early to know that for certain, so it’s important that women don’t see freezing as a guarantee of future pregnancy.’

Looking back over 25 years of regulation of the fertility sector, Sally said:

‘When the HFEA first started, 25 years ago, the success rate from IVF was around 15% and the multiple birth rates were very high, at 28%. As treatments and practices have improved, the birth rate has almost doubled and multiple births are down by a half. This shows that clinical progress and the dedication of professional staff, in a well-regulated sector, significantly improves patient care and outcomes.’

ENDS


Download the report (PDF 1.31 MB)

Download the datasheet (XLS 96.0 KB)

For further enquiries, please contact the HFEA’s press office on 020 7291 8226, or at press.office@hfea.gov.uk.

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Publication date: 13 April 2017

Review date: 13 April 2019