Do IVF clinics really exploit the infertile?

9th January 2012 in Infertility

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

There was much debate in the media recently following claims by Lord Robert Winston that many IVF clinics in the UK – both private and NHS -  are exploiting the infertile and ‘ripping off desperate couples’ by charging much more than what he says is the actual cost of treatment.

When you research a fertility clinic, which we always recommend you thoroughly do before embarking on any treatment, you will notice unsurprisingly that fees vary widely between providers. But this is largely because some clinics don’t tell you all the extra costs treatment entails – such as the necessary drugs and screening tests – so they can appear ‘cheaper’ than others.

At Manchester Fertility, we are always open and completely honest with all of our patients about the true and real cost of complete treatment. IVF is stressful enough without being lured through the door by seemingly ‘cheap’ IVF rates, only to find that in reality it’s a lot more than you initially thought.

And whilst we can’t speak for other IVF clinics, both private and NHS, we only ever advise on the best treatment to suit you – not our profits. After all, what would be the point of putting our patients through the emotional and physical rollercoaster that is IVF and infertility treatment, if we knew there was little or no chance of success?

It’s a huge disappointment for our entire team – the embryologists, consultants, nurses and counsellors – on the occasions when treatment doesn’t work. We get to know all of our patients personally very well, and so it naturally affects us all.

Lord Winston also criticised those IVF clinics which use unproven, expensive tests – for which there is little or no evidence of success – to try and boost success rates.

What’s important to remember here is that many breakthrough techniques have to start somewhere, but be wary of a clinic which claims success using a new test or method without any statistics to back it up. It may seem like the clinic is one step ahead of the rest, but it will be you that pays for the use of the technique which may not even be proven.

Indeed, it’s why infertility support organisations and experts exercise caution when new tests or methods are discovered – large-scale clinical trials are vital in demonstrating the viability but too often there’s just a small sample of people to ‘prove’ the efficacy.

So if you’re thinking of starting your IVF journey this year, start it the right way and make sure you thoroughly research the IVF clinic you’re thinking of using. Click here for advice on choosing the right IVF clinic for you. 

Last updated: 20th January 2020