BFS statement on the new HFEA classification scheme for treatment add-ons

The British Fertility Society (BFS) supports attempts to provide fertility patients accurate
information about their treatment options. Fertility treatment is the most highly-regulated
field of medicine in the UK with its own specific regulator, the Human Fertilisation and
Embryology Authority (HFEA). The HFEA inspects all UK clinics and its recent ‘State of the
Sector’ report shows that patients receive care that is effective and safe, with increasing
success rates and a low risk of complications.

The technological and scientific advances that have enabled so many thousands of babies to
be conceived in UK fertility clinics have been the result of an innovative and results-driven
environment. In such a situation, fertility professionals have a duty to offer treatments
which are supported by good evidence, while ensuring patients are made aware of the lack
of evidence in relation to Add-ons. Members of the BFS have embraced the concept of
ratings for Treatment Add-ons, but have also drawn attention to the deficiencies of a
simplistic approach.

The BFS therefore welcomes the HFEA revision of its Treatment Add-on rating system,
which significantly improves on the previous classification. The new system allows more
detailed and accurate information to be provided to patients. Patients will be able to obtain
more individualised information relevant to their specific situation and priorities.
The HFEA deserves credit for being the first in the world to introduce this type of
systematic, unbiased patient information. We are hopeful that the new system will allow
patients, in partnership with their trusted clinician, to make decisions about their treatment
with greater confidence.