In Vitro Fertilisation

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord O'Shaughnessy on 24 October 2017 (HL1882) and by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on both 9 January 2020 (HL275) and 11 February 2020 (HL1237), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not hold information on which methods of freezing are used; from which data the HFEA came to the conclusion that there has been no effective difference between vitrification and slow freezing methods over the last five years; and what assessment they have made of the importance of any (1) clinical, and (2) other, follow up for informing prospective patients.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is required under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to keep a register recording identifiable information on patients, the treatments they undergo and their outcomes. This information does not include the method used to freeze sperm, eggs or embryos.

The HFEA has not said that there has been no effective difference between methods of freezing over the last five years. The HFEA’s published information on annual fertility trends shows an increase in success rates using frozen embryos and frozen eggs over time.

The HFEA does not carry out follow up work with patients. Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, applications can be made to use HFEA data for research studies.

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