IVF parents to face fewer and faster checks

People seeking to use fertility treatment will face fewer checks, under new guidelines.

Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, fertility clinics have to assess the welfare of a child born via fertility treatment. These focus on a number of areas, including: mental and physical conditions in the parents, which could threaten a child’s care; drug and alcohol abuse; previous convictions related to harming children; and medical history, which means that the child could be born with a serious medical condition.

However, doctors are also required to question potential parents on a series of social issues, including their ability to provide a stable environment for a child.

The revised guidance, introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, removes vague and subjective social questions from the assessment, focusing instead on the risk of serious harm to the child.

Clinics would assume that they would provide treatment, unless evidence of serious harm to the child is found. Clinicians would also be allowed to use their professional judgement to decide which cases needed further investigation, rather than having to contact a patient’s GP in every case.

The HFEA said that the new guidelines would be “fairer and clearer” for fertility patients. Suzi Leather, Chair of the HFEA, said: “By focussing more clearly on the risk factors that could lead to serious harm, we will have a system that is fairer for patients and more proportionate for doctors whilst still protecting children's interests.

“These new guidelines will enable medical teams to get on with the job and will give patients reassurance that the process will not be unjustifiably burdensome or intrusive.”

The new guidelines will be fully implemented by January 2006.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 January 2009
Consultation To End Child Poverty, Launched
The Government has today set out plans to make sure every child gets the best start in life by tackling child poverty, which can unfairly hold children back and prevent them reaching their full potential.
10 December 2009
Child Obesity 'Levelling Off'
New figures have suggested escalating child obesity in the UK is beginning to level off, however, rates are still too high, according to the government. The National Child Measurement Programme suggested families are benefiting from knowing the facts about their child's weight.
03 August 2009
NSPCC Calls Rise After Death Of Baby P
More people are calling the NSPCC Helpline about serious child abuse since the death of Baby Peter two years ago. Between April 2008 and March 2009, the 24-hour freephone service passed on 11,243 suspected child protection cases to police or social services - an increase of more than a third over two years.
08 March 2006
Report notes increase in child porn sites
The number of child porn sites reported to police has increased by almost 80%, a new report has revealed. The report, by the Internet Watch Foundation, said that public intolerance of child abuse sites and the development of new skills aimed at tackling the distribution of such images had led to the increase in reports.
20 February 2015
Council Votes To Outsource All Services
Northamptonshire County Council has voted to accept plans to outsource all services and move the majority of its staff to new bodies. The council is seeking to save £68 million by outsourcing all services, including the fire service, waste management and promotion of the county's economy.