IVF clinics preying on anxious couples are selling ‘add-ons’ that may not work

Couples seeking fertility treatment are being sold expensive add-ons despite little evidence some of them work – and concerns they could even be harmful – experts have warned.

Fertility doctors say couples attending private clinics are being increasingly sold treatments aimed at boosting IVF success, including immune system-suppressing drugs, pre-implantation testing and time-lapse photography.

In a series of interviews published by The Independent, experts claim clinics were handing out ‘expensive, potentially harmful stuff like Smarties’, or announcing breakthroughs that were closer to marketing “hype”.

In light of the revelations, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) – which regulates IVF and fertility clinics – said it was planning to ensure patients had access to accurate information about a range of ‘extras’ so they could make informed decisions. 

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