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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Experts say: deny the obese fertility treatment

25 July, 2008  

Nearly half (47%) of UK fertility experts believe that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) should be conditional on lifestyle factors, denying the overweight and smokers treatment.

This finding comes as part of a survey of IVF experts’ attitudes to some of the big topical controversies in their field. The survey has been conducted by the British Fertility Society (BFS) to mark the 30th anniversary of the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, which falls on 25 July 2008.

More than 50% of respondents to the survey also agreed that new procedures are being offered to patients far too quickly and before trials have adequately assessed their efficacy.

Speaking about the results Dr Mark Hamilton, Chair of the BFS, said: “It is gratifying that such a high percentage of fertility experts want more clinical trials of new techniques.

“In recent years questions have been raised about a number of untested and hugely expensive techniques widely offered in IVF clinics. These include Reproductive Immune Therapy and Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS), about which the BFS has previously issued statements.”

More than half of respondents to the survey agree that the regulatory burden of IVF is too high, though 30% strongly disagreed. And despite the fact that the majority of IVF experts operate in the private sector, more than 70% agree that IVF should be funded by the NHS.

The survey shows that the UK government’s decision to remove the right to anonymity from sperm donors remains very unpopular amongst IVF experts, with almost 60% either agreeing or strongly agreeing that donors should remain anonymous and not have their identities revealed.

Despite a number of high profile experts arguing that infertility will become a thing of the past as IVF success rates steadily improve, this survey shows that almost two thirds of experts think that infertility rates will rise throughout Europe in the next 30 years.

British Fertility Society