People turning to fertility treatments such as IVF can now access an online tool to compare NHS funding in their area with the rest of the UK.
The dashboardwhich was launched by the regulator Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA), is considered a world first, and enables those looking to undergo processes such as IVF and ICSI, as well as researchers, to explore data from 1991, covering 665,690 patients. .
Users of the dashboard can, among other things, filter the 34,725 new egg or 14,665 new sperm donors by year, by ethnicity and by country of origin; investigate the number of patients who freeze or thaw their eggs each year – and the average age to do so; look at trends for multiple birth rate per year; and examine how IVF success rates vary by age.
The dashboard also highlights key statistics revealing, for example, that the percentage of cycles receiving NHS funding has changed from 38% in 2009 to 26% in 2021, while the birth rate per embryo transferred has risen from 7% in 1991 to 23% in 2021 . .
Peter Thompson, the chief executive of the HFEA, said there were more than 70,000 fertility treatments a year in the UK.
He said: “As the fertility sector has progressed over the past 30 years, so has the opportunity to improve how we present and share data. Our new data dashboards are the next step in even greater information transparency.
“For researchers, finding important data about fertility treatment in the UK used to mean submitting queries one by one. The launch of the dashboard will ensure that our wealth of data can be used to gain further insight, which in turn can improve outcomes for everyone.”
Prof Adam Balen, consultant in reproductive medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, welcomed the availability of the data and the transparent approach of the HFEA, pointing out that the HFEA’s data is the largest repository of information on IVF in the world.
He said: “The new dashboard enables researchers to access data for study and patients to access information to better inform them about their fertility journey, thereby demystifying some of the complexities behind the statistics of treatment outcomes.”
Stuart Lavery, consultant in reproductive medicine at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This new dashboard from the UK regulator should be welcomed by patients and clinics. Its graphical and tabular format presents a lot of complex information in a simple and easy understandable way.
“This is a great demonstration of how we can use information from the world’s most comprehensive IVF database to benefit patients seeking fertility treatment today.
“While I would recommend my patients to use it, I would also recommend that the best way to understand your own personal situation and chances of success would be through an individualized consultation with your fertility doctor.”