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How is IVF regulated in the UK? How do I interpret clinic success rates?

How is IVF regulated in the UK? How do I interpret clinic success rates?

By Krishna Sharma for IVF London


The laws and regulations concerning fertility treatments can often be confusing and difficult to navigate. What legislation is there surrounding IVF? How do I know a clinic is fully licensed? How did they do at their last inspection? What do their success rates look like? These are all very important questions to ask before setting upon your fertility journey, and ultimately choosing the best clinic to help you in your family planning. Here, we’ll discuss how IVF and other fertility treatments are regulated and how to interpret clinic success rates so that you can make an educated decision when selecting a clinic.

Who is in charge of regulating IVF in the UK?

The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) is a Government-assigned independent regulating body, responsible for ensuring that fertility clinics operate in line with the law and provide high-quality service and care. In order to perform IVF in the UK, a fertility clinic must first be awarded a licence by the HFEA. These licences are only awarded if a rigorous set of criteria is met by the clinic, and they can prove that they will be able to provide a good standard of service to patients. All licensed IVF clinics must comply with several pieces of legislation, including the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

The role of inspections in regulating fertility clinics

All clinics must be inspected by HFEA officials before their licence is approved, and every two years after that. These inspections are crucial in determining whether a clinic is fit to offer fertility treatments to patients and ensure that they are operating within the law. Once the inspection has been performed, the report is presented to the Licence Committee of the HFEA, and a decision on renewing/continuing the clinic’s licence is made. The latest inspection report for all UK fertility clinics are available on the HFEA website.

More information can be found on the official HFEA website here.

Measuring success of an IVF clinic

Some fertility clinics might use technical jargon when declaring their success rates, which may confuse their potential patients. Without explaining the key terms to aid understanding, the meaning of these success rates can be misinterpreted. Here at IVF London, we have several materials available to help you clarify the meaning of the different success rates, to enable you to make the best decision for your family planning.

More information on IVF London’s success rates can be found here. IVF London’s head embryologist Alpesh Doshi M.Sc, B.Sc (Hons), Dip RC Path. goes into more detail in this video.

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