The UK’s fertility watchdog will tell IVF clinics to stop making exaggerated claims about success rates after complaints that some have been misleading patients and charging exorbitant fees.
UK’s fertility will tell IVF clinics to stop making exaggerated claims about
success rates after complaints that some have been misleading patients and
charging exorbitant fees. The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
clarified two weeks ago that it would require clinics to “take a more
responsible approach to patient information”, to ensure that websites gave
vulnerable couples a realistic evaluation of their chances of having a child.
move is a response to scathing remarks by one of the UK’s foremost fertility
experts, Lord Robert Winston. He complained about the “scandal” of clinics
overcharging for IVF treatment, accusing them of using “misinformation” to make
their success rates appear higher, and that they behaved in a “dishonest and
dangerous” way by offering treatments abroad that are unacceptable in the UK.
Winston focused on London’s The Bridge Clinic, which advertises a 71% rate of
pregnancy for blastocyst treatment and 67% success for pre-implantation genetic
diagnosis. He said: “As someone who has been
intimately involved with pre-genetic screening of this kind, I find those
figures, frankly, quite incredible.” A spokesman for The Bridge said the
comments “surprised” him, insisting the information on the website was “factual
and as up-to-date as possible”. He continued: “Public-sector IVF centres
work to an entirely different cost model when compared with the private sector,
with substantial areas of overhead supported by the taxpayer, making valid
financial comparisons rather difficult.”
Clare Lewis-Jones, of the patient charity Infertility
Network UK, said: “It is vital that patients make sure they are fully
informed about the costs of treatment and ensure there are no sudden surprises.
We would be very concerned if clinics were over-claiming on success rates, and
if this is the case we would urge the HFEA to look into this.” ~ Independent, May
UK fertility watchdog to crack down on IVF clinics “scandal”
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