14 March 2010
ByAppeared in BioNews 549
The UK's fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has published new data on the success rates of fertility clinics across the country, enabling patients to find out the likely result of their treatment.
'Choose a Fertility Clinic', an online service providing patients with a clinic-by-clinic breakdown of success rates, was launched by the HFEA last year. The new data, published last week, complements this by making available more detailed information based on an in-depth analysis of the results of thousands of treatment cycles.
Prospective patients can search for information that is most relevant to them, according to their age, whether the procedure being undertaken is IVF or ICSI and whether fresh or frozen embryos are being used as well as whether the eggs used int he procedure are their own or come from a donor.
Once the data has been broken down according to the patient's own information, the website can provide details of how many patients treated at a particular clinic go onto have a baby after treatment, the likelihood of becoming pregnant with a singleton or multiples, what may happen to these pregnancies and possible loss, and the outcome for the babies born, including incidences of low birth weight.
'No decision is more personal than a decision about your own fertility,' said Professor Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA, in a statement, adding: 'We want to help people make their choices by making available as much evidence and analysis as we can provide. This new set of data adds a whole new dimension to what is available'.
The analysis, carried out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) based in Oxford, looked at the result of thousands of IVF and ICSI treatment cycles carried out in 2006. It was found that over 13,000 babies were born from the treatment and of these, 61 per cent were singletons, 38 per cent were twins and one per cent were triplets or above.
Success rates were higher for women aged 37 and below compared to women aged above this group. Multiple births were found to be higher for women aged above 37 as well as a higher risk of losing one or both babies in a multiple pregnancy.
Not only will the new information be useful for patients but also fertility clinicians and researchers. The HFEA has also confirmed that the NPEU will continue analysing data on fertility treatment services it receives.