Private IVF clinics that offer false hope for childless couples are immoral – leader comment

IVF treatment is a miracle of modern science turned sour by the profiteering for private clinics prepared to overcharge by thousands and mislead people with “selective success rates”.

Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube baby', was born in 1978 (Picture: PA)
Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube baby', was born in 1978 (Picture: PA)

In 2010, Sir Robert Edwards was awarded a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work on IVF treatment in the 1960s that led to the birth of the world’s first so-called ‘test-tube baby’, Louise Brown, in 1978.

It is an area of scientific research that has given joy to countless couples all over the world in the years since.

However, some private clinics have soured the sense of wonder at this miracle of modern science by using it to extract thousands of pounds for little more than false hope, misleading couples with what Sally

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Cheshire, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, described as “selective success rates”.

Some have been charged up to four times as much as they should – £20,000 – for a chance of conceiving a child.

In 2016, the fertility watchdog warned clinics were offering expensive add-on treatments despite little scientific evidence supporting their use.

Cheshire said HFEA was “trying” to stop sharp sales tactics, adding that clinics “need to be honest” with their customers.

Such a statement simply should not need to be said. The fact that it does suggests our watchdog needs bigger teeth.