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On 13 September 2018, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate a motion moved by Baroness Deech (Crossbench) on the “40th anniversary of the first baby born using in vitro fertilisation”.

This briefing provides background information on in vitro fertilisation (IVF), including a timeline of developments in terms of both medical advances and regulatory changes in the field of reproductive science in the UK over the past four decades; statistics on the use of IVF in the UK; and a brief overview of some of the issues that have arisen in connection with the subject of IVF treatment in recent years. These include barriers to access through the NHS for some individuals and couples; the prohibitive cost of private treatment for many who may be unable to conceive without assistance; and accusations, including from fertility experts such as Lord Winston (Labour), that claims made by some private clinics about the success rate of treatment cycles can be misleading. The briefing then highlights a selection of further information, including an overview of what IVF entails; articles marking the 40th anniversary of the birth of the first ‘IVF baby’, Louise Brown, in 1978; and recent reports from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the independent statutory regulator of fertility treatment and human embryo research in the UK, on IVF and the fertility sector as a whole.


Documents to download

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