The report includes data from nearly 2,500 ART clinics from between 58 and 61 countries in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, and it is the first time the report has included all regions of the world, with the first submissions of data from some sub-Saharan African countries.

The report shows that intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), when sperm is injected into the egg directly, is used in about 55% of cases in the UK.

Professor Adam Balen, Chair of the British Fertility Society and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said:

“The British Fertility Society (BFS) echo some of the concerns raised in this new report on global use of ICSI as male factor infertility accounts for approximately 40% of cases presenting with fertility problems. ICSI is used in cases where there are too few sperm for conventional IVF.

In the UK the practice is used in about 55% of cases which is not indicative of a significant problem and couples should only be referred for this if a male infertility factor is present.

There is wide variation in its use across different countries which needs further exploration to the reasons behind this. It is vital that anyone looking into IVF is provided with the best evidence-based information to make the right choice for them.”

Reference: International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies – world report on assisted reproductive technologies: 2008-2009-2010”, by S.Dyer et al. Human Reproduction journal. doi:10.1093/humrep/dew082.