HFEA seeks patients' views
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust11 June 2005
British couples who have had fertility problems are being asked to help improve the quality of services provided across the UK. The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has launched an online consultative panel - called 'Fertility Views' - to gather the views and experiences of people who have had, are undergoing or preparing for fertility treatment. The HFEA was set up in 1991 to regulate and licence the provision of fertility treatments in the UK.
The HFEA estimates that one in seven couples have some sort of fertility problem - amounting to approximately 1,750,000 people across the UK. By asking these people directly for their views, the HFEA hopes to establish what couples feel they want and need from the fertility sector as a whole. The authority also hopes that people will become more involved with broader policy issues in the area as a whole.
The panel is being run in conjunction with research experts Opinion Leader Research and will be controlled to take into account the variations in age, geographical location, gender, ethnicity and other lifestyle factors of the participants. Individuals and couples who take part will be contacted roughly every three months and asked questions regarding their experiences, values and about the information and support they feel that they need as patients. It will not deal with the details of individual cases and all information will be kept confidential.
In a press release, Suzi Leather, chair of the HFEA, said that 'the people who are most affected by the work of the fertility sector are those people who are seeking, or have received treatment' and that it is important that the HFEA 'learns from their experiences'. She continued: 'Very often patients don't want to raise broader issues with their clinics which aren't directly related to their individual treatment', adding that 'they do have a point of view to put across or raise a broader issue which concerns them'. To become involved in the panel or for more information please follow the link below.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.