Massive rise in Brits travelling abroad for IVF treatment after NHS cuts and private clinic price hikes. 2018. (accessed 20 August 2018)

BBC. Louise Brown: World's first IVF baby's family archive unveiled. 2018. (accessed 20 August 2018)

One child at a time, reducing multiple births after IVF. : Report of the Expert Group on Multiple Births after IVF. 2006. (accessed 20 August 2018)

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Fertility treatment 2014–2016: Trends and figures. 2018a. (accessed 20 August 2018)

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Our campaign to reduce multiple births. 2018b. (accessed 20 August 2018)

Twins and Multiple Births Association. 55 baby deaths could be prevented every year. 2018. (accessed 20 August 2018)

IVF: A case of ‘less is more’?

02 September 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 9


Despite the sucess of IVF over the past 40 years, funding cuts have encouraged couples to travel abroad for treatment. But, Sophie Windsor asks, could they return with more than they intended?

Last month was the 40th anniversary of the first IVF birth. Louise Brown was born in Oldham General Hospital in 1978 (BBC, 2018). Since then, more than 300 000 babies have been born as a result of IVF treatment, giving precious life to thousands of childless couples. IVF techniques have come a long way since then, and statistics from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that fertility treatments in the UK are becoming much safer (HFEA, 2018a). Birth rates have significantly improved, with one in three treatment cycles now resulting in a birth for couples under the age of 35 (HFEA, 2018a), but one thing has remained the same: the desire and hope to have a child.

In 2006, however, HFEA became increasingly concerned about the growing number of multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF treatment and the effects that this was having on maternal and neonatal health. HFEA launched the One at a Time campaign (HFEA, 2018b) to improve the safety of IVF treatment for both mothers and babies by reducing the number of multiple pregnancies (Braude, 2006).

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