Provisional statistics, released by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) last week, suggest that the average success rate of IVF treatments has risen.
The HFEA collated data supplied to it from a number of fertility clinics across the UK for the year ending 31 March 2001. The figures show that 21.8 per cent of all IVF treatment cycles counted resulted in a live birth and that, for women under the age of 38, the rate was 25.1 per cent. Statistics released in 1999 showed the same success rates at 19.5 and 22.1 per cent respectively.
The HFEA statistics also indicate that a growing number of women aged 38 or over are starting IVF treatments. In 1999, this group of patients represented 22 per cent of all treatment cycles, whereas this year's figures show that 25 per cent of IVF treatments are given to women older than 38.
The statistics are, as yet, 'provisional' as they have yet to be verified. But Suzi Leather, Chair of the HFEA, said 'we are reasonably confident that the data is accurate. Clinics have had the opportunity to double-check that the figures we publish are those they supplied'. Commenting on the fact that some clinics are shown to have 'higher' success rates than others, she said 'it is important that the data is not seen as the basis for 'league tables'. Some clinics appear to have lower success rates because they treat particularly difficult cases where the chance of a pregnancy is low. If you are trying to decide which clinic is best for you, you need to ask what their success rate is for couples about your age with problems similar to you'.