Multiple births in IVF have reached an all-time low of just ten per cent, declining from 24 per cent in 2008, according to a new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) report
The fertility watchdog has revealed more people in the UK are undergoing IVF, with the procedure becoming safer and more successful than ever.
Just some of the reasons for treatment gradually changing are more same-sex couples, single women and surrogates making use of fertility treatment.
Figures in the report show that, in 2017, more than 54,000 patients underwent around 75,000 fertility treatments, with IVF treatment cycles increasing by 2.5 per cent since 2016 and resulting in over 20,500 babies being born.
Success rates continue to improve, with the average birth rate for women of all ages using their own eggs reaching 22 per cent, while women under 35 using their own eggs have the highest birth rates with 30 per cent for a fresh embryo cycle and 27 per cent for a frozen embryo cycle.
‘Good treatment is more than just providing successful outcomes’
HFEA chairwoman, Sally Cheshire CBE, said: “Fertility treatment has come a long way over more than 40 years and is now safer whilst helping more people to create their much longed for families.
“We know that multiple births carry higher risks to mothers and babies and cost more to the NHS. That’s why, it is a great achievement that all our hard work with fertility clinics has paid off as we have now achieved the lowest ever multiple birth rate while continuing to see success rates rise.
“However, good treatment is more than just providing successful outcomes. That’s why we are continuing to work with clinics to ensure they address the emotional aspects of fertility treatment by providing excellent patient support, alongside high-quality care.”
While patients in heterosexual relationships still account for more than 91 per cent of all fertility treatments, this only saw a two per cent increase between 2016 and 2017. This is in stark contrast to the increases in treatments for patients in female same-sex relationships which rose by 12 per cent to 4,463 cycles, single women by 4 per cent to 2,279 cycles and treatments for surrogates by 22 per cent to 302 cycles between 2016 and 2017.
‘More same-sex couples, single women and surrogates are changing fertility treatment’
Sally continues: “We are seeing a gradual change in the reasons why people use fertility treatments, which were originally developed to help heterosexual couples with infertility problems.
“While the increases in same-sex couples, single women and surrogates having fertility treatment are small, this reflects society’s changing attitudes towards family creation, lifestyles and relationships and highlights the need for the sector to continue to evolve and adapt.”
Other key figures show that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to NHS-funded IVF treatment at 62 per cent, with Northern Ireland at 50 per cent, with Wales at 39 per cent and England in fourth at 35 per cent.
To view the full report, click here.