Limits lifted on number of twins and triplets born through IVF

Clinics will no longer have to ensure that multiple births account for less than 10% of successes

Health Reporter

Limits on the number of twins and triplets that can be born as a result of IVF treatment have been lifted, following warnings from fertility experts that they harmed some women’s chances of becoming pregnant.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced that IVF clinics will no longer have to ensure as a condition of their licence that multiple births account for only 10 per cent of their successful cases.

Multiple births are more risky and twins and triplets have a higher risk of disability. They can occur from IVF treatment when women are implanted with more than one embryo – a technique which improves their chances of becoming pregnant.

Last month the HFEA lost a High Court battle against two clinics which argued that the decision on how many embryos to implant should be taken on medical grounds and not based on a clinic’s concerns over breaching targets.

Mohamed Taranissi, medical director of the Assisted Gynaecology Centre, who led the legal challenge, said that patients who would benefit from having more than one embryo implanted – often older women, or those who had already had a failed course of IVF – were being told they could only have one embryo.

Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA, said it was “simply not appropriate” for two out of 83 clinics not be subject to the restrictions, adding that they would now be lifted to create “a level playing field” for clinicians.

The HFEA still backs 10 per cent limits on multiple births and said it expected clinics to continue to make efforts to bring rates down.

Dr Taranissi told The Independent that the profession backed efforts to reduce the number of multiple births, but said treatment decisions for women should be made on a case-by-case basis.

“A patient can come to you in January or February and you can use three embryos if standard practice dictates that for this patient. If this same patient comes to you in August or September, when you’ve already reached your annual limit, then you are going to treat them differently – that cannot be right,” he said.

In a joint statement, the Association of Clinical Embryologists, the British Fertility Society, The Multiple Births Foundation and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said they believed “responsible professionals will continue do all they can to minimize multiple births through good clinical practice.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most