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IVF clinics to have new targets

10th February 2012

New targets to help cut multiple births have been set for IVF clinics by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

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The regulator has told clinics that no more than 10% of births should be twins or triplets. The current target is 15%.

The target – which comes into force in October - has been set to reduce the number of multiple pregnancies from fertility treatment.

It follows evidence that such pregnancies carry significant risks to mother and babies and follows the introduction in January 2009 of the policy of single embryo transfer.

In a letter to clinics, HFEA chief executive Alan Doran said: “The sector as a whole has responded very well to the drive to reduce multiple births.

“Since the introduction of the policy in January 2009, the proportion of single embryo transfers has increased, the multiple pregnancy rate has decreased and the overall pregnancy rate has remained steady.”

Multiple-birth pregnancies are known to have a higher chance of miscarriage, of premature birth and of babies with cerebral palsy.

Many clinics are generally achieving lower rates, reducing them from 23.6% in 2008.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Association of Clinical Embryologists and chairman Rachel Cutting said: “The problem most clinicians have is when patients are paying for a cycle, it is hard to convince them to have just one embryo put back, because they automatically think two will give them a better chance.

“But HFEA figures show a tiny difference in pregnancy chances, but still an excellent chance of pregnancy.”

 

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