The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has launched a new 'Choose a Fertility Clinic' service on its website that rates fertility clinics according to their success rates. The website provides numerical success rates for all 114 licensed clinics in the UK, based upon data collected in 2007.
Previously the data provided by the HFEA failed to distinguish between larger and smaller fertility clinics leading to bias in the reported success rates. A smaller clinic could statistically leapfrog a larger clinic by successfully delivering far few babies. The new data combines a number of factors to give a more meaningful picture of IVF success rates, says the HFEA.
Commenting on the new data, Professor Lisa Jardine, the chair of the HFEA, said: 'People can spend thousands of pounds in the hope of having a baby. It is only right that people have access to as much information as possible to help them make a choice about where they go for their treatment.' However, the HFEA does not publish information regarding the cost of fertility treatment, which varies substantially across clinics. Some critics have called on the HFEA to promote more transparency about 'hidden' costs involved with fertility treatment, such as that for medication.
The figures show that the under 35s have the best success rates at around 32 per cent, which falls to just under 12 per cent for those aged between 40 and 42. The success rate for women over 44 was little over three per cent. In 2007 36,861 women were treated for infertility problems at UK clinics, an increase of nearly six per cent from the year before. The figures also show that the use of donor insemination (DI) has declined and the number of fertility patients using donated sperm has also fallen. Commentators have pointed to the falling numbers of sperm donors in general since donor anonymity was removed in 2005 as a contributing factor to the decline in donated sperm-related services.