UK IVF success rates and waiting times published
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust29 May 2005
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has published a new edition of its 'Guide to Infertility'. The Guide contains details of all UK clinics that are licensed under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and donor insemination (DI), although it does not contain information on other 'lower-tech treatments' that may be carried out by other doctors or hospitals.
For the first time, the Guide has also been produced as an online, interactive version in which patients may enter in their details and receive tailored information about services and clinics in their area and about particular treatments. It was assembled with the help of healthcare information experts 'Dr Foster' and produced and developed in consultation with patients and clinicians.
The Guide gives information about the causes of infertility and potential treatments, detailed information - including success rates - for 85 individual treatment centres, and 'real-life' patient stories. It shows that the average IVF success rate for women under 35 years old is 27.6 per cent, although some clinics have much higher success rates than others. The most common age at which a woman receives IVF is shown to be 35, but the chances of success decline with age, as the success rates in the Guide show.
The Guide also shows that the average waiting time for IVF treatment on the NHS varies greatly depending on the clinic. The shortest wait was two weeks, while the longest was 156 weeks. This has led critics to claim that NHS-funded IVF is still subject to a 'postcode lottery'. Longer waits for treatment come when the healthcare trust provides fewer funds for IVF - critics said this time difference could have a serious impact on some women's chances of success. Clare Brown, chief executive of Infertility Network UK said that some healthcare trusts must improve their provisions for fertility treatments. 'It is vital that people get treated as quickly as possible to make it a cost effective and clinically effective treatment', she said.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.