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Fertility authority must provide evidence for tests and treatments, say researchers

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6400 (Published 28 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6400
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

Many UK fertility clinics make claims on their websites about the benefits of treatments without providing good quality supporting evidence, concludes research published in the online journal BMJ Open.1

A linked Analysis article in The BMJ finds that most fertility treatments offered outside standard in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment are not supported by good evidence.2 The findings will be part of a Panorama investigation broadcast on Monday 28 November on BBC One.

Carl Heneghan, from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University, who is the lead author of both papers, has called on the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to provide a central resource of continually updated evidence so that patients can make informed choices about tests and treatments.

Around a seventh of UK couples have problems conceiving. Fertility services are offered by more than 200 NHS and private clinics registered with the HFEA. These clinics offer a range of investigations and treatments, …

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