Page URL:

UK IVF success rates and waiting times published

26 May 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 310

The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has published a new edition of its 'Guide to Infertility'. The Guide contains details of all UK clinics that are licensed under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to carry out IVF and donor insemination (DI), although it does not contain information on other 'lower-tech treatments' that may be carried out by other doctors or hospitals.

For the first time, the Guide has also been produced as an online, interactive version in which patients may enter in their details and receive tailored information about services and clinics in their area and about particular treatments. It was assembled with the help of healthcare information experts 'Dr Foster' and produced and developed in consultation with patients and clinicians.

The Guide gives information about the causes of infertility and potential treatments, detailed information - including success rates - for 85 individual treatment centres, and 'real-life' patient stories. It shows that the average IVF success rate for women under 35 years old is 27.6 per cent, although some clinics have much higher success rates than others. The most common age at which a woman receives IVF is shown to be 35, but the chances of success decline with age, as the success rates in the Guide show.

The Guide also shows that the average waiting time for IVF treatment on the NHS varies greatly depending on the clinic. The shortest wait was two weeks, while the longest was 156 weeks. This has led critics to claim that NHS-funded IVF is still subject to a 'postcode lottery'. Longer waits for treatment come when the healthcare trust provides fewer funds for IVF - critics said this time difference could have a serious impact on some women's chances of success. Clare Brown, chief executive of Infertility Network UK said that some healthcare trusts must improve their provisions for fertility treatments. 'It is vital that people get treated as quickly as possible to make it a cost effective and clinically effective treatment', she said.

Angela McNab, the HFEA's chief executive, has also said that the authority is going to pilot a 'risk tool' that will mean that 'failing' fertility clinics will undergo higher levels of scrutiny and face greater sanctions. Those clinics with low IVF success rates will be more thoroughly investigated than others, although this will also depend on other factors. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Ms McNab said that the risk tool will 'lighten the regulation and inspection' when 'centres are well-run'. 'That will allow us to put more resources into the clinics that have poor performance rates', she added.

Fertility success gulf revealed
BBC News Online |  24 May 2005
Five-year waits in IVF postcode lottery
The Times |  24 May 2005
New Guide provides national picture and details of UK's Fertility Clinics
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority |  24 May 2005
Revealed: Gulf in success rates of IVF clinics
The Daily Mail |  24 May 2005
Unsuccessful clinics face closure in IVF treatment clampdown
The Daily Telegraph |  30 May 2005
5 June 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has published a new edition - in hard copy and online - of its annual 'Guide to Infertility'. The Guide contains details of all UK clinics that are licensed under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to carry out...
4 April 2005 - by BioNews 
As the deadline for the partial implementation of guidelines recommending free fertility treatment for patients in England and Wales passed last week, a new survey reveals that many couples are still facing lengthy waits. Following guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in February 2004, which recommended...
14 February 2005 - by Professor Brian Lieberman 
The failure of the UK government to provide, or to identify additional funds for NHS funded IVF treatment is of increasing concern to many thousands of infertile couples, led to believe that they would receive such treatment following the report by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in February...
31 January 2005 - by BioNews 
Members of the UK parliament have called upon the government to make fertility treatment available on the National Health Service (NHS) to all couples in England and Wales with a proven need, regardless of where they live. Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infertility (APPGI) made their case...
14 June 2004 - by BioNews 
Only one third of primary care trusts (PCTs) in England will introduce guidelines designed to end the 'postcode lottery' of IVF treatment on the National Health Service (NHS), according to a new survey. This means that prospective patients in many parts of the country may still struggle to obtain NHS-funded...
25 February 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK's National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that, in line with earlier draft guidance published in August 2003, the National Health Service (NHS) should fund up to three attempts at in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for infertile couples meeting specific criteria. NICE is a cost-effectiveness watchdog established by...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.