Fertility :: RCOG statement on the BBC Panorama programme IVF Undercover

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) promotes good practice in the field of reproductive medicine through its own guidelines, and supports those recently published by NICE. It provides formal subspecialist training programmes in reproductive medicine through which additional highly specialised training is received by specialist gynaecologists, who are expected to practice to the very highest standards in infertility provision.

We would recommend that patients investigate whether the clinics that they are contemplating visiting have such sub-specialists on their staff. They are more likely to be within NHS clinics.

The RCOG is concerned that the inadequacy of NHS funding for necessary IVF/ICSI treatment, and variation in PCT criteria for access, is driving patients into the private sector where fees may be substantial, and where practice may be less rigorous and evidence based. As a result, some desperate couples have found themselves in difficult situations. A national framework for fertility services, based on existing NICE and RCOG guidelines, would go a long way to addressing this inequality.

Information about poor practice which the RCOG receives from patients is acted upon and referred to the HFEA or GMC as appropriate. However patients are often reluctant to come forward with their adverse experiences.

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