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New figures show low uptake of fertility treatment among BAME communities

We want everyone who is struggling to conceive feel empowered to access fertility treatment that’s right for them, regardless of their background.


More people in the UK are undergoing IVF, with the procedure becoming safer and more successful than ever, yet our new figures show that patients from an ethnic minority background only make up a small number of fertility patients overall.

Our figures released today to Sky News today, reveal that out of more than 55,000 fertility patients in 2018, 66% identified as White, while only 19% identified as either Asian, Black, Mixed or Other.

Around 15% of patients didn’t state their ethnicity when registering with a licensed fertility clinic in the UK.

Sally Cheshire, HFEA Chair, said:


“We know that some patients from an ethnic minority background face unique cultural and sometimes religious challenges when they struggle to conceive.


“We recognise that there is still a stigma attached to infertility in general, but it’s important people know it’s a recognised medical condition like any other. And we want all fertility patients to feel empowered to access the treatment that’s right for them, regardless of their background.


“It’s crucial that anyone facing infertility has access to information, and our website provides free, impartial and unbiased information about fertility treatment and a directory of every licensed fertility clinic in the UK to help patients find the right clinic for them.”


Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Member of our Authority and Medical Director of the Assisted Conception Unit (ACU) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital said:

"More information and empowering women with the right knowledge will demystify IVF and make it like any other treatment.”

He added: "You do get cultural issues from Bangladeshi or Pakistani or African originated patients.

"But now you'll see those patients coming to the clinic referred by their friends, which means they were open and spoke with their friends who would have had a baby through IVF. The attitude is not the same as it was years ago.”


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Publication date: 18 December 2019

Review date: 18 December 2021