IVF Babble

HFEA launch new patient checklist to take along to fertility appointments

Fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority(HFEA) has unveiled a new checklist to help the patient make an informed choice about the controversial treatment add-ons being offered by UK fertility clinics

The move has come amid widespread criticism of clinics that offer the range of treatments to patients at an added cost despite there being little or no evidence or studies to show how effective they are.

The checklist has put produced in conjunction with leading fertility charity, the Fertility Network UK, and includes a range of questions that patients are advised to ask should they be offered any of these treatments.

Questions include: why are you recommending this add-on to me specifically? Will you or anyone employed at this clinic benefit financially from me having this add-on? Do you believe the add-on to be safe?

More detailed questions include: Is there good quality evidence to back this up? What if I don’t have this add-on? Are there any associated risks or side effects to this add-on?

Within the notes, the HFEA comment: “If you are paying for any part of your treatment that means you are also a consumer which means you have certain rights.

“You may feel awkward about it, but it is okay to question your clinic about the cost of your treatment if, for example, you are not clear about some of the treatments and charges.”

The HFEA has welcomed a new chairperson in its 30th anniversary year

Julia Chain has taken over from Sally Cheshire and has penned an open letter to fertility patients.

She said she has been impressed with how the HFEA puts patients at its forefront.

“I am very excited and privileged to take up this role in the organisation’s 30th anniversary year.

“The development of fertility treatment and the improvements in successful outcomes over the last 30 years have been extraordinary – but I know that it is not an easy journey for many people and there is still much more to be done. We will continue to highlight where more changes should take place, whether that is in looking at how different patients may have different outcomes, or how to address other types of inequalities.

“We want to do all we can to ensure there is equal access to high-quality fertility treatment for everyone. We regulate to ensure that clinics adhere to the highest standards of care in both the private sector and the NHS, and under my watch, we will continue to treat all clinics consistently.

“The last year, during the pandemic, has been a particularly stressful time for many fertility patients. The HFEA did all it could to make sure the fertility sector was the first healthcare sector to reopen, and we have worked closely with clinics to keep fertility services going under difficult circumstances. I look forward to the further lifting of restrictions so that clinics can get back to a more normal way of working in time.

“Patients having fertility treatment are inundated with information about what is best, and how to maximise their chances of having a baby. The HFEA website is the best starting point to find out about different types of treatment.

“Patients are and will continue to be at the heart of our work at the HFEA. Listening to and engaging in a meaningful dialogue with patients is vital to ensure the HFEA can regulate effectively, and it is something that I personally am wholly committed to. I look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months and hearing your experiences and concerns. In the meantime, please keep up to date with our work via our digital and social media channels and stay in touch with us.”


To view the new patient checklist, click here.



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