Fertility Patients to have Healthy Lifestyle 'Contract'

Fertility Patients to have Healthy Lifestyle 'Contract'

Eligible patients will be required to sign up to a health and lifestyle improvement programme including stop smoking, not drinking and losing weight if necessary before they embark on IVF treatment.

In return the Bridge clinic in central London is offering a fixed price package of treatment including optional acupuncture and a second free cycle of IVF if the first one fails.

The package will cost £4,500 and include all tests, scans, drugs, four months of folic acid supplements which women trying to conceive are advised to take, counselling and stress relief programme.

To start with only patients with a good chance of success are being offered the programme but after the result of the first 50 treatments are known it may be rolled out to more difficult cases.

Patients will be offered the programme, called IVF Plus, if the woman is under 36 and is a healthy weight, have not had a failed cycle of IVF before or a miscarriage and both partners are free of infectious diseases. If their initial tests are favourable, the contract will be signed and treatment commences.

The package will also include the more complicated method of IVF known as ICSI, where an individual sperm is injected directly into the egg, rather than being simply mixed together in a dish. This method is more often used when there are problems with the male partner's fertility and is generally more expensive.

Dr Mohamed Menabawey, medical director of the Bridge clinic, said: "It is a contract between us and the patient. The technology can go so far but the patient has to play their part.

"They have to agree to improve their lifestyle, stop smoking, stop drinking and lose weight if they need to and to undergo stress management. It is to make sure they are in the best shape they can be mentally and physically.

"We are very confident we will see good results."

He said that there is scope within the programme to tailor the treatment to the needs of the individual patients.

The clinic intends to use a similar approach for older patients who have a lower chance of success or those with more complex problems once they have the results from the first 50 couples.

The programme also fits with the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which is encouraging clinics to inform patients at the beginning of their treatment what the likely costs will be as many have seen costs spiral.

Around one in seven couples experience fertility problems and in 2006 there were 44,275 cycles of IVF carried out in England and Wales.

Between one in four and one in five cycles are successful and costs can vary from around £4,000 per cycle to more than £8,000 including drugs.



Posted: 25/11/2009 14:53:57


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