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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 06:52 GMT 07:52 UK
Undue IVF pressure put on couples
IVF
IVF may not always be needed
Some fertility clinics are pushing couples into having fertility treatment when all they need is time to conceive naturally, say experts.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) criticism comes in the week that success rates of fertility clinics are being published. The figures will show considerable differences in success rates between different clinics.

Although the organisation stresses the list is not a league table, it is bound to put the industry under greater pressure.

HFEA head Suzi Leather said some older women turned to IVF after a relatively short period of trying to conceive naturally.

A recent study, by a team from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina found that most women - even those in their late thirties - will conceive naturally within two years of trying.

Suzi Leather
Suzi Leather said most woman would conceive naturally
Ms Leather said part of the problem came from patients themselves.

"There is an assumption that as soon as you stop using contraception you are going to fall pregnant, and actually it is quite normal for it to take quite a long time.

"That needs to be explained to people. One of the things fertility clinics should be doing is giving patients the right information, and sometimes the right advice is 'you don't infertility treatment yet, go away and make love normally'."

Ms Leather said infertility treatment was not without risks, or emotional downsides. It was also expensive.

However, Professor Ian Craft, from the London Fertility Centre, said while most women would conceive naturally, not all would.

He said: "Most people are very satisfied with their treatment on the whole."

See also:

07 Mar 02 | Health
31 Mar 99 | Medical notes
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