A new ratings system from the UK fertility regulator has revealed that many fertility treatment “add-ons” offered to patients do not actually improve their chances of having a baby. This news comes amidst concerns that clinics are providing unproven treatments that come with hefty price tags.
Add-ons refer to optional treatments that are offered in addition to proven fertility treatments, such as IVF, in private clinics. The recently introduced ratings system by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) uses five colors, ranging from green to red, to indicate the level of evidence supporting the effectiveness of each add-on in improving the chances of a successful pregnancy.
The ratings reveal that none of the listed add-ons on the HFEA website have been given a green rating, indicating strong evidence of effectiveness. Furthermore, examples like pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) and immunological tests have received red ratings, indicating limited evidence of effectiveness.
Support groups, like Fertility Network UK, have applauded the new ratings system, as it is expected to improve the often stressful process of purchasing private fertility treatment. They emphasize the importance of patients considering all available information before making decisions about add-ons.
Clinics are now expected to provide clear information to patients about the nature of the add-on, its potential impact on successful pregnancy rates, and its associated costs. The HFEA also stresses that add-ons lacking strong evidence of safety and effectiveness should only be offered as part of research.
This new ratings system aims to empower patients to make informed choices and avoid unnecessary expenses on add-ons that may not significantly improve their chances of conceiving. It highlights the need for clinics to be transparent and responsible in their practices, ensuring that patients are not left in the dark about the effectiveness and potential risks of various fertility add-ons.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are fertility treatment “add-ons”?
Fertility treatment “add-ons” are optional treatments that may be offered in addition to proven fertility treatments, such as IVF, in private clinics. They are intended to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
What is the purpose of the new ratings system from the fertility regulator?
The new ratings system from the fertility regulator aims to provide patients with transparent information about the effectiveness of various fertility add-ons. It uses five colors to indicate the level of evidence supporting the effectiveness of each add-on in improving the chances of having a baby.
Why is it important for clinics to provide clear information on add-ons?
Clear information on add-ons is crucial for patients to make informed decisions about their fertility treatment. It allows patients to consider the potential impact on successful pregnancy rates, associated costs, and the level of evidence supporting the effectiveness of each add-on.
How can patients ensure they make the right decisions regarding fertility add-ons?
Patients are encouraged to look at all the information provided by clinics and consider the ratings given by the fertility regulator. It is essential to discuss add-ons with healthcare professionals, weighing the potential benefits against the costs and available evidence.
What is the role of research in offering add-ons with limited evidence?
Add-ons with limited evidence of safety and effectiveness should only be offered as part of research. This ensures that patients are not exposed to unnecessary risks and helps advance scientific knowledge in the field of fertility treatment.