24 May 2011
The latest figures released by the HFEA show that the numbers of multiple births following IVF continue to fall in the UK. Multiple births are considered to be the biggest fertility treatment risk for mothers and babies, which led to the HFEA’s introduction of a single embryo transfer policy in the UK in 2007.
The HFEA’s first multiple IVF birth target of 24% was introduced in 2009/10. This was reduced to 20% in 2010/11. As from April this year, a new target of 15% of all IVF births was set for each UK licensed fertility clinic to meet by April 2012. Between 2008 and mid 2009 the IVF multiple birth rate fell in the UK from 23.6 percent to 22 percent with an overall pregnancy rate of 31.3%.
Single embryo transfer in the UK is considered most appropriate for women aged under 37 years with good quality available embryos. IVF remains a globally important fertility treatment option, although different countries adopt different approaches to the issue of multiple births, with the HFEA’s remit only extending across the UK.
IVF can be an invaluable treatment option for those struggling to conceive, offering hope and the prospect of a much wanted family for the single woman or lesbian couple conceiving with donor sperm or a known donor, for heterosexual couples looking to conceive with their own or donor gametes, for single men and gay couples entering into a co-parenting or known donor arrangement and for those building families through surrogacy. IVF can raise complex fertility law issues, particularly for those looking to create alternative family structures, undergo surrogacy or those with complicated personal situations, making specialist legal advice a must at the outset.