Small rise in number of women from BAME background having IVF treatment

With more people than ever before undergoing IVF in the UK, new figures show that patients from an ethnic minority background only make up a small number of fertility patients overall

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) figures were released to Sky News and reveal that out of more than 55,000 fertility patients in 2018, 66 per cent identified as white, with only 19 per cent identified as either Asian, black, mixed or other.

About 15 per cent of patients didn’t state their ethnicity when registering with a licensed fertility clinic in the UK.

HFEA chairwoman, Sally Cheshire, said: “We know that some patients from an ethnic minority background face unique cultural and sometimes religious challenges when they struggle to conceive.

“We recognise that there is still a stigma attached to infertility in general, but it’s important people know it’s a recognised medical condition like any other. And we want all fertility patients to feel empowered to access the treatment that’s right for them, regardless of their background.

“It’s crucial that anyone facing infertility has access to information, and our website provides free, impartial and unbiased information about fertility treatment and a directory of every licensed fertility clinic in the UK to help patients find the right clinic for them.”

“We need to demystify IVF”

Dr Yacoub Khalaf, member of the HFEA and medical director of the Assisted Conception Unit (ACU) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital said: “More information and empowering women with the right knowledge will demystify IVF and make it like any other treatment.”

He added: “You do get cultural issues from Bangladeshi or Pakistani or African originated patients. But now you’ll see those patients coming to the clinic referred by their friends, which means they were open and spoke with their friends who would have had a baby through IVF. The attitude is not the same as it was years ago.”

Are you from a BAME (black, Asian, minority or ethnic) background and have had IVF treatment? Was it successful? Did you find your community was accepting of your decision or did you experience cultural prejudice? We’d love to hear your story, email


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