IVF Funding and the Risk of Multiple Pregnancy

Fertility doctors have today called for IVF to be fully funded on the NHS to reduce the rate of multiple births, which can lead to complications for women.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said state funding for fertility treatment was the most important factor in reducing rates of twin, triplet and higher-number births.

Multiple pregnancy can occur when more than one embryo is transferred into the uterus, with the recent RCOG report noting that this procedure is often carried out to reduce costs for patients who pay for their own treatment.

Our leading fertility consultants here at the Lister Fertility Clinic agree that multiple pregnancy is the biggest complication of IVF. Transferring more embryos than appropriate or safe, whether in the NHS or privately, is poor practice which can artificially enhance a clinic’s success rates and mislead those seeking treatment.

The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) were able to sanction clinics, or even threaten to remove their license to practice if multiple rates were higher than the recommended 10% cut-off. Although this remains their recommended good practice, it is a shame they are no longer able to enforce this.

Safety is, and always has been, paramount to us here at the Lister, and we are proud to say that is reflected in our excellent, transparent success rates. Our multiple pregnancy rate was 8.9% in 2017, which is less than the national average and lower than the HFEA recommended 10% cut-off.

We work to each individual patient’s needs, assessing age, embryo quality and previous history, to maximise the chance of success while minimising the risk of multiple pregnancy. If you are concerned about your IVF treatment and the risks of multiple pregnancy, book an appointment with one of our consultants who will be more than happy to advise you.