Doctors demand ban on 'no baby, no fee' IVF deals

Doctors demand ban on ‘no baby, no fee’ IVF deals over fears rushed treatments could put mothers and infants at risk – as UK’s biggest clinic offers full refunds after three failed cycles

  • Care Fertility runs 21 clinics across the UK and offers a multi-cycle deal  
  • Campaigners fear that it could encourage rushed treatments with bad results 
  • Fertility clinic group strongly denies these claims and has protocols in place  

Doctors have demanded a ban on ‘no baby, no fee’ IVF deals over fears that it could encourage rushed treatments which may put mothers and infants at risk. 

The campaign comes after the UK’s biggest fertility clinic launched a deal offering patients refunds after three failed cycles of IVF treatment.  

Care Fertility runs 21 clinics across the UK also offer a multi-cycle deal which gives patients the option to pay in advance for two rounds of IVF. 

A campaign group made up of fertility doctors, finance brokers and former patients have joined to voice their concerns that the deals could encourage rushed treatments which lead to health complications. 

The campaign comes after the UK’s biggest fertility clinic launched a deal offering patients refunds after three failed cycles of IVF treatment. Stock picture

A spokesman for the Safe campaign told The Times: ‘Clinics in the US stimulate their patients with larger doses of medication in search of higher egg yields … However, this approach comes at a cost. 

‘Patients in the US endure higher rates of often serious complications such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), increased risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes and higher rates of children born with low birth weight.’ 

Care Fertility denies these claims and says it had protocols in place which wouldn’t allow for a conflict of interest. 

It added that its rates of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome are below average.  

The fertility group claims they are offering the deals in order to help the patient and give them a better experience of IVF treatment. 

It said that it recommends different treatments based on advice from doctors and will not take into account how a patient is paying for the service.  

However, the Safe campaign is calling for the industry’s regulator – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – to ban the deals.  

Care Fertility runs 21 clinics across the UK also offer a multi-cycle deal which gives patients the option to pay in advance for two rounds of IVF. Stock picture

Lead embryologist of Manchester Fertility, Debbie Falconer, said she is asking for the regulator to carry out a review of the deals.  

A Care Fertility spokesman said: ‘We would also like to highlight that until very recently we have worked with Access Fertility to provide IVF funding programmes to our patients. 

‘However, following extensive patient feedback through various research projects we have conducted over a number of years, we have learned that patients found it disruptive to have to contact a third party like Access Fertility to access an IVF funding package. 

‘Furthermore, patients were concerned that an unknown medic from this third party would be deciding whether or not they would be eligible for a funding programme without having spoken to the patient.

‘We therefore designed CAREpay to address these concerns and make accessing much-needed IVF funding programmes a more seamless patient experience, with patients having no need to contact anyone other than CARE. 

‘Patients also have the reassurance of knowing that their own fertility doctor, with full knowledge of their medical history and circumstances, will assess whether they are suitable for an IVF funding programme, keeping the details of their very personal fertility plans and treatment private.

‘We were also uneasy that the current program provides little incentive for our clinics to get our patients pregnant. 

‘The Access Fertility model effectively rewards failure as clinics are paid for each cycle performed irrespective of outcome. By offering IVF funding programmes in-house, CARE is totally aligned with our human desire to help patients become pregnant safely.’

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