BFS welcomes latest HFEA trends report

The British Fertility Society welcomes the latest HFEA report on trends and figures in fertility treatment, released today (09 May 2019).

Dr Jane Stewart, Chair of the BFS said: “The report confirms that IVF remains a safe and effective approach to address fertility issues. Success rates increase year-on-year and, as reasons for choosing when to start a family change, uptake of fertility treatment continues to rise.

“While uptake rises, the availability of NHS funding continues to fall. It is frustrating to see CCGs cutting the availability of IVF, with almost all now failing to line up with NICE recommendations. Infertility is a real disease, recognised by the World Health Organisation, and it should be treated just the same as any other. The reality is that infertility has been sidelined and that represents a false economy. The costs to the NHS of not treating infertility are significant, particularly in regard to the impact of infertility on mental health. We want to see CCGs reconsider the economics of providing up to three full cycles of IVF.

“The safety of fertility treatment in the UK is excellent – we have one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. While it is good news that the target of 10% multiple births has been reached, we feel that 10% is still too high. And 10% is an average so some clinics are still breaching this target. Of course some clinics will come in under 10% multiple births and we may be able to learn from their practices.

“It is also worth noting that the HFEA requires reporting of PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) but not PGT-A (pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidies). While PGD looks to rule out genetic disease in the child, PGT-A may be added to the IVF process to check the viability of an embryo. PGT-A still requires validation – described in the HFEA list of ‘add-ons’ – however there is little difference in the techniques used. In both cases, it would be useful to know if the technique itself has any impact on subsequent outcomes. No specific license is needed for PGT-A but it is a requirement for PGD. This is an anomaly we would like to see HFEA address. There seems little reason not to report PGT-A and every reason to bring regulation and reporting into line with PGD.”