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.