The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) believe that the current rate of multiple births of 1 in every 4 IVF births being multiple is too high. The fertility watchdog of UK now warn British couples who are or wish to undergo IVF treatment that they could have a high risk of giving births to twins or triplets.
According to statistics released by the HFEA on the 2nd June shows that 23.6% of IVF births have resulted in either twins or triplets. The HFEA is also publishing a booklet, the Guide to Infertility 2006, providing facts and figures on different types of fertility treatment. The Guide to Infertility includes a searchable database of clinics with information on every licensed fertility clinic in the UK and the services they offer.
Dame Suzi Leather, chairman of the HFEA, called for the patients to be offered more NHS-funded IVF cycles to encourage them to have only one embryo implanted at a time. Dame Suzi Leather believes that the list they are releasing would enable the patients to be better informed. The list is based on research from 38,264 treatment cycles given to 29,688 women between April 1st 2003 and March 31st 2004.
She explained that they have developed the powerful interactive internet search facility to make sure that the people get information about clinics modified to their individual circumstances rather than a general information, which could sometimes be very misleading.
The HFEA are largely concerned about the chances of the people undergoing IVF treatment and giving birth to more than one child at a time and the associated health problems that it could cause. Angela McNab, the chief executive of the HFEA, said that they were still very concerned about the levels of twin and triplet pregnancies that they believe cause the single largest risk to mothers and their children from IVF treatments. She said that multiple births could cause problems to the health of the children that could last for a lifetime.
The latest statistics also reveal that IVF treatment is becoming more successful in, with the overall live birth rate from fertility treatment going up from 20.4 per cent in 2002/03 to 21.6 per cent a year later. But campaigners are quick to point out that UK's success rates still lag behind other European countries. They feel that any improvement, could be fantastic but it still means seven out of ten couples are failing to achieve their wish of having a child.