HFEA believe older women are being exploited by IVF clinics

The fertility watchdog has said older women are being exploited by IVF clinics who are using selective success rates when targeting women over the age of 40

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) chairwoman, Sally Cheshire, said in an interview over the Easter weekend that she believed IVF clinics were ‘trading on hope’.

Mrs Cheshire told the Telegraph she urged clinics to be open and honest about the success rates of women over the age of 40 and called for the watchdog to be able given powers to crackdown on profiteering.

She said: “We now see things like ‘guaranteed baby or your money back.

‘Selective success rates’

“Some of the private sector clinics use very selective success rates in their sales tactics which we are also trying to stop. Because they need to be honest about their results by age group, by category of patient – all of which is available on our website.

“I would like our clinics to be honest about the success rates. They are catering to a bunch of vulnerable women.

“What clinics shouldn’t be doing is trading on that hope. That hope and vulnerability. They should be honest and transparent about a woman or a couple of changes.”

She also raised concerns about the hugely varying cost of IVF at private clinics and said the HFEA has no legal powers to regulate it.

‘Costs for IVF cycles vary wildly’

She said a full IVF cycle should cost no more than £5,000 with possible extra paid for a frozen embryo transfer, but said she had figures from private clinics that one cycle costs anywhere between £10,000 and £20,000.

She said the clear reason was the add-on treatment culture that had been growing over the past few years and believes that clinics need to explain to their patients that these procedures, such as embryo glue and endometrial scratch, that they are experimental and there is no research to back it up.

When it comes to IVF and women over the age of 40, according to HFEA statistics from 2017, the success of live birth rates for women using their own eggs aged between 40 to 42, sat at nine percent, with 797 births from 8756 embryo transfers. Women aged 42 to 43, the success of live birth rates were 75 live births from 2265, a three percent success rate.

Figures from women aged 44 and over was just two live births from 253 embryo transfers but these figures are from average of data from 2004 onwards.

If you are researching a clinic, visit the HFEA website.

Are you a woman who was successful with having an IVF baby over the age of 40? Or do you feel you were duped by private fertility clinics? Did you become a fertility tourist and go abroad for donor treatment? We’d love to hear your story, email mystory@ivfbabble.com

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