Should we believe doctors who hold our happiness in their hands?

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A new study has shown that all the add-ons that fertility clinics sell to patients, some costing up to £3,500, have no evidence to support that they’ll increase the chances of pregnancy.  The treatments include genetic screening tests, additional drugs, blood tests to measure the immune system and special devices to house an embryo. They can cost from £100 up to £3,500 each on top of the costs of IVF. People often presume that if a doctor is telling you something it would be be backed up by some evidence. Unfortunately this report shows it is not necessarily the case

“Some of these treatments are of no benefit to you whatsoever and some of them are harmful.”

Only one treatment, called an endometrial scratch, was supported by moderate quality evidence it would help. It involves a procedure to scratch the womb lining to help an embryo successfully implant, although the evidence for this treatment was not itself beyond doubt.

Jessica Hepburn spent over £70,000 on eleven cycles of IVF and had many different “add-ons”. She never had a baby. “These are doctors. We believe what doctors tell us and this is a doctor that holds my happiness in his hands,” she said.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help couples with fertility problems have a baby.

During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop.

It can be carried out using a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm, or eggs and/or sperm from donors.

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