One in 100 women having IVF 'suffer adverse incident'

One in every 100 women who use IVF to conceive suffer an "adverse incident", fresh data has revealed. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority found 500 to 600 mistakes were made in every 60,000 cycles of fertility treatments in the UK.

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Fertility clinics need fewer 'grade C mistakes'

Too many fertility clinics are making mistakes during IVF treatment such as breaches of confidentiality or one of many eggs being rendered unusable, the head of the industry watchdog has said.

HFEA chairwoman Sally Cheshire explained:

What's most important is learning the lessons from errors made to minimise the chance of their happening again - this is not about naming and shaming.

However, there remain too many grade C mistakes, such as breaches of confidentiality. As patients have often told us, these mistakes may be less serious at first glance but they can still be very upsetting.

Clinics can and should be eradicating these sorts of avoidable errors, which will go a long way towards reducing patient distress and improving the overall experience of IVF treatment

– Sally Cheshire

'Grade A mistakes made' during IVF treatment

There were three "grade A" or major mistakes made by fertility clinics over a two year period, the industry regulator said.

HFEA discovered over a two year period starting in 2010 fertility specialists:

  • Gave one family the wrong sperm.
  • Another incident involved dishes with the embryos of 11 patients becoming contaminated with "cellular debris that may have contained sperm".
  • The final grade A error occurred when a member of staff destroyed frozen sperm from storage while it was still within its consent period.


One in 100 women 'suffer adverse incident' during IVF

One in every 100 women undergoing a cycle of IVF treatment suffer an "adverse incident", according to fresh data.

Experts said the number of grade C mistakes is still "too high". Credit: PA

Approximately 500 to 600 mistakes are made in every 60,000 cycles of IVF, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) found.

HFRA, which licenses the IVF industry found there had been 714 grade B incidents, 815 grade C errors and three grade A mistakes - the most serious error - during this time frame.

One of the most serious mistakes reported was a family receiving the wrong sperm.

The couple were supposed to be given donor sperm from a specific donor - so their child would have the same genes as their sibling - but they were given the sperm of a different donor.

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