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Private IVF clinics charging clients for ineffective additional treatment

IVF clinics are urged to stop charging patients for expensive additional treatments that actually have no evidence of increasing the chances of pregnancy

IVF treatment for pregnancies can be a challenging ordeal for couples desperately seeking a
child. It can also sap the funds of a couple for its high prices, which is typically around
£5,000 per cycle. Naturally, this testing route for potential patients is well worth its weight
in costs, but unfortunately where certain businesses see desperation they also see profit.

IVF clinics have been known to offer add-ons that allegedly aid the process of pregnancy
such as genetic tests, time lapse imaging of embryos drug treatments that suppress a
mother’s immune system, and techniques such as assisted hatching that involve using acid, a
laser, or other tools to thin the protein coating from which an embryo must break out before
it can implant in the womb.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA) have argued that there is little
evidence to support the value or effectiveness of these treatments and that they are
unnecessarily recommended to patients with additional cost. A survey on IVF patients
conducted by HEFA found that 62% had paid more than they had expected to at private IVF
companies compared with 23% of those that had visited an NHS clinic.

The evidence suggests that the pressure of market forces, as well as the desire to have a
child and fulfil maternal instincts has yielded considerable profits for private IVF companies
that supply these ‘add-ons’. HEFA argues that such barriers to becoming a parent should be removed, as it only adds to the financial strain that a new born child might bring to a parent.

The main bitter taste left in the mouths of many IVF clients comes from the fact that
companies will exploit the desperation of people desperate for the miracle of childbirth, in
an attempt to further their own financial agendas. With this lack of empathy, IVF companies
have arguably lost a degree of trust from clients that can only be removed by offering fair
rates without unreasonable and potentially ineffective additional treatment.