Survival of the unfittest: IVF technique ‘used too widely’, watchdog warns

The Independent 3 November 2013
A technique for injecting sperm directly into unfertilised eggs to increase the chances of a successful IVF pregnancy is being used too widely by some fertility clinics, the head of the Government’s fertility watchdog has warned.

Lisa Jardine, who chairs the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said that some IVF clinics are using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) simply because it is easier than standard IVF, rather than because it is in the best interests of patients.

“We believe it is being used far too widely because it is procedurally easy,” Professor Jardine said. “The scientists who advocate it already know that a boy born through ICSI is likely to have a low sperm count. So it is a little bit worrying that it is being rolled out so widely.”

She recently warned on BBC Radio 4 that success rates for couples, who typically spend around £15,000 for three cycles of treatment, are “discouragingly low”.

ICSI was first introduced about 20 years ago, since when its use has become widespread. In 2011, more than half of the nearly 62,000 cycles of fertility treatment, involving just over 48,000 women in Britain, were done with ICSI, rather than letting the sperm penetrate the egg naturally.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/survival-of-the-unfittest-ivf-technique-used-too-widely-watchdog-warns-8919258.html