Expert reaction to HFEA fertility trends report
- More treatment cycles than ever before; success rates remain
- Multiple birth rate falls again
- Number of women over 45 using donor eggs outnumbers those using
- Number of IVF cycles using donated eggs and donated sperm more
than doubles in five years
- Number of same-sex female couples receiving treatment
New figures on fertility treatment released today by the Human
Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) reveal a continuing
rise in the overall number of IVF cycles in the UK, with more
undertaken in 2013 than ever before.
In 2013, 49,636 women had a total of 64,600 cycles of IVF and
2,379 women had a total of 4,611 cycles of donor insemination (DI),
representing an increase in both categories from the previous year.
Overall success rates have remained constant at around 25%.
Women over 40 represent the minority of all patients treated,
with women aged over 45 accounting for just 2.% of all treatments.
More than two-thirds of women undergoing treatment are aged 37 and
under, while the average age for treatment remains static at 35.
The report also shows that a majority of women over 45 are using
donor eggs rather than their own when trying to conceive.
The number of IVF treatment cycles involving same-sex female
couples has increased by nearly 20% year-on-year, rising from 766
treatments in 2011 to 902 in 2012. The number of donor insemination
cycles involving same-sex couples (DI) rose by nearly 15%, from
1,271 in 2011 to 1,458 in 2012. These amount to a minority of all
treatments undertaken in the reporting period.
Elsewhere, the HFEA's "One at a
Time" campaign to reduce multiple births is shown to have had
good impact, with multiple births continuing to decrease. The
report shows that multiple births occurred in 16.9% of treatment
cycles in 2012, down from 18.8% in 2011.
The report also shows that the number of IVF treatment cycles
using both donor eggs and donor sperm has doubled over the last
five years, while the use of frozen embryos is now involved in more
than 20% of all treatments.
Sally Cheshire, Chair of the HFEA welcomed the publication of
"At the HFEA we are committed to ensuring high quality care
for everyone affected by assisted reproduction, and this report is
key to that commitment. It offers unrivalled insight into one of
the world's most advanced IVF sectors, helping to inform the
decisions of patients and clinicians alike.
"We are very pleased to see that outcomes in most categories
are improving each year, and are particularly heartened by the
continuing downward trend in multiple births, something we've
worked hard with professionals to achieve.
"But as well as providing data, over time these reports
offer us a unique insight into the changing nature of social norms,
whether that is same-sex parenting or older mums. In that sense
they have become a fascinating resource not just for patients and
clinicians, but for everyone."
Prof Daniel Brison, Scientific Director, Department of
Reproductive Medicine, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS
Foundation Trust, and Professor of Clinical Embryology, University
of Manchester, said:
"It is very encouraging that live birth rates from IVF treatment
remain stable while multiple birth rates are declining as a result
of increased use of single embryo transfer. It is also good
news that the use of embryo freezing is increasing and success
rates are also increasing, as this gives patients the best chance
of a pregnancy from each IVF cycle and encourages single embryo
transfer. However the report also shows that the majority of
embryo transfers in 2013 continued to replace more than one embryo
and multiple birth rates at 16% are still too high, so there is
still work to be done to promote safe practice in IVF."
The report contains key statistics on fertility trends in the
UK. It covers treatment cycles and outcomes for treatments
started in 2012 and 2013 and how these coincide with short and long
term trends. It is the fourth of its kind to be published by the
Other findings include:
- Pregnancy rate (per embryo transfer) rises for all age
- The live births rate is at highest-ever level
- Number of IVF cycles using fresh donated eggs up more than 50%
in five years
- London and South East account for over a third of all