Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 13 October (cols. WA 31-32), what assessment the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has made of the accuracy of its perceived risk to patients of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome based on a record of cancelled cycles, if it is significantly less than the actual incidence reported in the journal Human Fertility (vol. 10, issue 3, pages 183-87); and

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 13 October (cols. WA 31-32), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has not compared figures in its report of three years ago with those of a paper published a year ago, given that members of the authority were made aware of the figures described in the journal Human Fertility (vol. 10, issue 3, pages 183-87); and whether the authority will require a similar period of time to compare the figures in its report updated in August 2008.

Photo of Lord Darzi of Denham Lord Darzi of Denham Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has informed me that it keeps a record of cancelled treatment cycles where the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) has been reported. As I stated in my reply on 13 October 2008 (cols. WA 31-32), in 2007 this applied to 611 out of a total of 35,946 cycles. This gives an indication of the perceived risk of OHSS across the United Kingdom. The HFEA has advised me that it is of the view that there would be minimal value in assessing those national data on perceived risk against the actual incidence of OHSS in one fertility centre, as reported in Human Fertility (vol. 10, issue 3, pages 183-87).

Professor Balen's report (published in 2005 and updated this year) compares the HFEA record of perceived risk of OHSS with larger data sets from across Europe. The HFEA commissioned Professor Balen to write a report on OHSS as part of its review of sperm, egg and embryo donation in 2004. The report provides an overview of OHSS, its incidence and the spectrum of the condition. The report is the result of an extensive literature review into OHSS, including the article in Human Fertility mentioned above. As a result, the HFEA does not intend to compare the figures in the Human Fertility article with the figures outlined in the report.

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