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In Vitro Fertilisation

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department has collected figures on the number of patients moving from one region to another in order to receive three full cycles of IVF treatment; (263512)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of steps to implement the policy of single embryo transfer in fertility clinics; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what support and guidance his Department plans to provide to primary care trusts to assist them to implement a policy of single embryo transfer; and if he will make a statement.

We do not collect information centrally on any patients moving from one locality to another to seek three cycles of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a national health service treatment.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in partnership with professional bodies and other stakeholders, including patient groups and representatives of the NHS, has developed a national strategy to significantly reduce the incidence of multiple births resulting from IVF and related treatments. This strategy is known as the “One at a Time” campaign and includes promoting greater use of single embryo transfers (SET) where this is clinically appropriate for individual patients, leaving scope for the exercise of clinical discretion. The Department has observer status on the stakeholder group.

The HFEA has required all licensed treatment centres to have in place a documented multiple births minimisation strategy, and to send a copy to the HFEA.

The Department has established an expert group on commissioning NHS infertility provision to identify the barriers to the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) fertility guideline in England and to help NHS commissioners to progress towards full implementation of the guideline. The expert group produced an interim report in August 2008, which recognised that patients are more likely to accept SET if they are assured that provision of services is established in line with the NICE guideline.