New website will rate IVF clinics by birth success

It's like league tables for having babies

Fertility clinics are to be rated for the first time on their likely chance of delivering a baby.

Nearly 37,000 individual patients and couples were treated at in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics in 2007, the highest figures yet recorded, new figures show.

From tomorrow couples will be able to assess the ‘predicted chance’ of a live birth at each clinic, based on a range of values, the regulator says. The change is intended to give potential patients a more meaningful picture of IVF success rates, where previously they had to rely solely on the overall number of births at a clinic.

A single cycle of IVF treatment – in which a woman has her eggs harvested, they are fertilised artificially and then one or more embryos is implanted in her womb – can cost up to £3,500. Many women need repeated cycles before they have a successful pregnancy, and often the NHS will not fund multiple attempts.

Professor Lisa Jardine, chairwoman of the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (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.’

A total of 36,861 women were treated at IVF clinics in Britain in 2007, compared with 34,855 the previous year – an increase of 5.8 per cent. In 2005, 32,626 women underwent IVF treatment.

For women aged 35 or under, 32.3 per cent of treatments given in 2007 resulted in a live birth. For women older than 44 undergoing the same treatment, the chances of having a baby were only 3.1 per cent, reflecting the impact of age on IVF success.

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