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Tuesday, December 15, 1998 Published at 15:47 GMT


National data on fertility treatments

National figures on fertility treatments in the UK show a further rise in success rates over the period 1996-1997.

The figures published on Tuesday by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) led to 7,292 babies being born in the UK.

IVF operates using either fresh embryos, frozen embryos or donor insemination.

Treatment cycles differ for each different procedure:

  • For IVF using fresh embryos, a cycle begins when drugs are given to stimulate increased egg production in a woman;
  • for IVF using frozen embryos, a cycle begins with the removal of the embryo from storage;
  • for donor insemination, a cycle begins when the first insemination of donated sperm takes place.

Following 6,232 frozen embryo transfers, there were 723 live births.

[ image:  ]
Pregnancies using insemination of donated sperm led to a further 1,382 live births and a total of 1,488 babies being born.

Treatment using donated eggs or embryos led to 329 live births from 1,736 treatment cycles.

Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) treatment is where eggs are taken from a woman, mixed with sperm and then immediately replaced in one of the woman's fallopian tubes, where fertilisation takes place.

The HFEA can only use data pertaining to GIFT procedures using donated sperms or eggs as cycles involving the couples own gametes are not subject to its licence.

In 1996-1997 there were 60 GIFT treatment cycles using donated reproductive material.

[ image:  ]
The HFEA is also publishing a patient's guide that includes details of individual clinics' success rates in various techniques.

Ruth Deech, chairman of the HFEA, said the guide should not be used to compare success rates from clinic to clinic, as the statistics are not directly comparable.

She said: "Some clinics pick patients who are most likely to conceive - for example by having an upper age limit.

"Also some clinics do more ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) than others, which has a higher success rate. It would therefore be wrong this year to compare directly the live birth rates of clinics."

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