The United Kingdom: 20,500 test-tube babies born in 2017

Publié le 20 May, 2019

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has released its latest data on medically assisted reproduction in the United Kingdom.


More than 54,000 patients underwent 75,000 fertility treatments in 2017, with the number of IVF cycles increasing by 2.5% compared to 2016. In 2017, more than 20,500 children were born by IVF in the United Kingdom. Although more than 90% of the IVF cycles (68,380) performed were for heterosexual couples, the report also shows that same-sex couples, single women and surrogate mothers represent an increasing proportion of MAR.


The use of oocyte cryopreservation increased by 11% between 2016 and 2017, i.e. 1,463 cycles were started in 2017 [1]. According to the HFEA, the increased birth rate from using frozen embryos (up from 18% in 2016 to 23% in 2017) – which has thus reached the birth rate from using fresh embryos – is behind oocyte cryopreservation’s better press. However, the HFEA does not have a lot of experience on which to assess these practices. Only 581 oocytes were used in 2017 (159 in 2012).


Regarding in-vitro fertilization, the multiple birth rate increased from 24% in 2008 to 10% in 2017. Access to NHS-funded MAR is increasingly disparate: in Scotland, 62% of IVF cycles were funded by the NHS, compared to 50% in Northern Ireland, 39% in Wales and 35% in England. This lowest figure for England could continue to fall. However, clinics in England performed 86% of the IVF cycles that took place in the UK in 2017.


[1] Egg freezing in England: + 460% since 2010

The Guardian, Ian Sample (9/05/2019); BBC (9/05/2019)

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