18 Jun JACKIE DOYLE-PRICE WELCOMES STRONGER RIGHTS FOR USERS OF FERTILITY CLINICS
With more and more people seeking fertility treatment from private clinics, regulators are working together to make sure that customers are treated fairly and are not misled and pay a fair price for their treatment
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Competition and Markets authority have together written to fertility clinics drawing their attention to new guidance for the sector. The letter demands that review their practices and terms to ensure that they comply with consumer law.
The regulators have outlined the following specific concerns:
• Price transparency: Clinics should present clear and upfront prices for their treatments. The advertised headline price may not include all aspects of the treatment
• Potential mis-selling of treatments: Patients should not be mis-sold ‘add- on’ treatments, which are offered by some clinics and can cost up to £2,500 per cycle.
• Success rates: Clinics should not mislead patients about how successful their treatments are and should ensure that rates are accurate and up to date on their websites and in advertising.
• Unfair terms: Terms and conditions should be fair and transparent.
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price said, “I am very pleased to see regulatory action being taken in this area. Those seeking treatment by IVF are often desperate to conceive a child and are consequently vulnerable to mis-selling. I am particularly concerned that they can be sold additional treatments which will make no difference to the likelihood of success. Equally they can be given a price for treatment that bears no relationship to what they ultimately pay.
This new guidance from the regulators will mean that clinics will have to be far clearer about the cost of treatments and about the chances of success. I am also pleased that the CMA have produced a helpful guide for people considering fertility treatment to inform them of what to look out for and what questions to ask. Fertility treatment: a guide to your consumer rights (publishing.service.gov.uk) as well as a video with Lorraine Kelly
Fertility Treatment: A guide to your consumer rights – YouTube
Taken together these tools will ensure sure that patients seeking fertility treatments will be treated fairly and be confident that they are not being ripped off”