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Clinic offers repeat IVF cycle in exchange for lifestyle improvements

30 November 2009
Appeared in BioNews 536

A central London fertility clinic is offering an IVF  treatment package in return for patients signing up to a health and lifestyle improvement programme, which will require patients to stop smoking, drinking, and lose weight if necessary prior to commencing IVF treatment.

The treatment package - 'IVF Plus' - offered by Bridge clinic in turn will include all tests, scans and drugs, four months of folic acid supplements, counselling and stress relief, optional acupuncture, and a free second cycle of treatment should the first fail. IVF Plus costs just £4500. Furthermore, this package will include IVF treatment via the  ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) method, where an individual sperm is actually injected into the egg cell, rather than being mixed with the egg in a dish. ICSI is more expensive and is generally only used when the male partner has fertility problems.

At present, only patients with a good chance of success are being offered this treatment package. In order to be eligible for IVF Plus patients must be under 36 and of a healthy weight, not have experienced a failed IVF cycle or miscarriage, and both partners must be free of infectious diseases. However, after analysing the results of the first 50 treatments, Bridge clinic intends to revise and extend the programme to include those with a lower chance of success, such as older patients and patients facing other fertility problems

The medical director of the Bridge clinic, Dr Mohamed Menabawey, commented that IVF Plus 'is a contract between the patient and us. The technology can go so far but the patient has to play their part.' He added: 'They have to agree to improve their lifestyle, stop smoking, stop drinking and lose weight if they need to and to undergo stress management. It is to make sure they are in the best shape they can be mentally and physically. We are very confident we will see good results.'

This approach is encouraged by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), in particular as it outlines the total cost to patients at the beginning of embarking on treatment. The cost of a cycle of IVF treatment can begin at £4000 and exceed £8000 and statistics show that between one in four and one in five cycles are successful. Bridge clinic's initiative in developing this package goes some way to addressing the issue of cost, as well as previous concerns over the lower chances of successful IVF treatment for women who are overweight.

Healthy lifestyle 'contract' for fertility patients
The Daily Telegraph |  23 November 2009
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The Fertility Show rolled into town on 5 November. Exhibitors from acupuncturists to fertility clinics pitched their tents at Olympia to promote their goods and services. Helping people with fertility problems is big business. The Progress Educational Trust packed our suitcase and joined them on a mini-break...
25 January 2010 - by Ruth Pidsley 
'Fertility doctors should refuse treatment to women used to more than moderate drinking and who are not willing to minimise their alcohol consumption', according to a new report by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). The report, from ESHRE's Task Force on Ethics and Law, covers the effects of alcohol, smoking and obesity on pregnancy....
21 October 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Women who are overweight or obese have lower chances of successful IVF treatment, according to researchers reporting at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) conference in Atlanta, US, this week. The researchers, from Michigan State University in the US, found that women who were defined as clinically obese were up to 35 per cent less likely to conceive and have a live baby, and twice as likely to have a stillbirth, than their lighter cou...
4 January 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The results of a study in Scotland have indicated that obese and overweight women have the same chance of successful IVF treatment as normal weight women. The research was undertaken in Aberdeen between 1997 and 2006, on 1,700 women undergoing their first cycle of IVF, and included...
19 November 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
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16 September 2007 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Australian couples are viewing IVF as more of a right than a medical solution to a health problem, warned a leading fertility expert last week. Professor Rob Norman, director of the Research Centre for Reproductive Heath at the University of Adelaide, told the Fertility Society of Australia's...
13 March 2007 - by Katy Sinclair 
If one or both partners in a couple are overweight they are likely to have difficulty conceiving, a study published in the journal Human Reproduction has found. The research, conducted in Denmark, surveyed 47,835 couples between 1996 and 2002 and found that obese couples were almost three...
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