The BBC Panorama Programme
Many patients will be angered and worried by the issues raised in this particular programme. The Society cannot make an informed comment about the activities of any single clinic or practitioner. However, the British Fertility Society expects its members to uphold the highest standards of evidence-based care in line with guidelines set out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the BFS itself and other sister organisations such as the Association of Clinical Embryologists.
Patients should always be advised if treatment offered is out with the bounds of conventional practice and any such treatment should only be offered in the framework of a properly conducted, ethically approved clinical trial.
Health professionals providing IVF care in the UK are bound by regulatory processes of inspection against national standards of good practice, and indeed the HFEA has today said that the “the vast majority of clinics in the UK comply well with the standards”.
The British Fertility Society is actively campaigning for increased provision of NHS-funded fertility treatment, through the full implementation of the NICE guidelines.
Dr Mark Hamilton, Chair of the British Fertility Society, said:
We can’t comment on any individual case, but any exploitation of distressed and vulnerable patients is absolutely unacceptable. The fertility sector is probably the most regulated sector in UK medicine, and the HFEA has said today that the vast majority of clinics in the UK comply well with these standards.
As a Society, we expect our members to uphold high standards. We support innovation where treatment is in the framework of a properly conducted, ethically approved clinical trial. In addition, we need to implement NICE’s recommendations to allow people with fertility problems greater access to NHS treatment.