Fertility Network UK responds to the HFEA’s updated treatment add-ons rating system

Press statement

Dr Catherine Hill, Fertility Network UK’s Head of Policy & Public Affairs, said: ‘Because of the lack of access to NHS-funded fertility treatment in the UK, the majority of fertility patients have to make decisions about the type and amount of fertility care they purchase. These emotionally and financially difficult decisions often centre on whether to try expensive fertility treatment add-ons and are typically made when patients are at their most vulnerable – desperate to try anything if there is a chance it may help them become parents. 

Fertility Network is aware of how stressful and confusing purchasing private fertility treatment can be for patients, and we welcome this updated treatment add-on ratings system and encourage fertility patients considering a treatment add-on to look at the enhanced information on the HFEA website before making any decisions. We also advise patients to discuss this data and their individual circumstances with a healthcare practitioner as it can still be confusing. Further info on the questions to ask your clinic is in our factsheet.

Importantly, greater detail is also provided, for example for specific patient groups, such as women over 40. This is helpful and together with additional information on other outcomes, such as miscarriage rates, will hopefully inform patients’ decision-making processes.

For example, the overall rating for the embryo screening technique, PGT-A, is the lowest rating, indicating it may reduce effectiveness – for most women. But the new rating system provides additional data relating to women over 40 and regarding the effectiveness of PGT-A at reducing miscarriage. PGT-A receives the top rating for reducing the chances of miscarriage in most women, meaning there is high quality evidence for this. And it gets  a grey rating for women over 40 meaning there is insufficient moderate or high quality evidence

It’s important to note that, as yet, none of the add-ons on the HFEA website are rated as being effective at improving treatment outcomes for most fertility patients.’