Date Published: 9 October 2006

Communities urged to speak out to ensure they get the fertility services they need

Hundreds of thousands of people from across Great Britain’s minority ethnic communities have problems starting a family.

People from minority ethnic communities across Great Britain are being urged to make their voice heard on the fertility services they receive by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – the UK’s Fertility regulator – as new figures showing that hundreds of thousands of people from these communities are having difficulty starting a family.

Estimates based on the most recent census break down the numbers of people having problem conceiving as:

  • 136,000 Asian people (including Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi)
  • 68,000 Black people (including Caribbean and African)
  • 16,500 Chinese people
    and many thousands more from other ethnic groups.

The HFEA’s role as the UK’s Fertility Regulator is to ensure that the fertility services people receive are safe and appropriate for them. We are asking people who are having, have had, or are thinking about fertility treatment to join our online patients panel Fertility Views to help us to improve the quality of fertility services in the UK. People can join the panel by going to Fertility views.

Vishnee Sauntoo, of the HFEA’s Equality and Diversity working group, explained:

Our job is to make sure that the fertility treatment people receive is safe and appropriate to them. One of the most important ways we can do this is to listen to the people who have been through fertility treatment or are starting to think about it.

_ One in seven couples in the UK have some problem conceiving which adds up to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK’s minority ethnic communities.

_ We know that infertility is a difficult and emotional experience and this can be even more difficult if people feel unable to talk about the problem to those close to them. Even though fertility problems are quite common, people can feel that they are a failure if they are having trouble getting pregnant. It can be even more difficult when friends and other family members around them are having children, particularly within those communities that place a strong value on family life.

_ We are concerned to make sure that people undergoing fertility treatment receive services that are safe, appropriate and sensitive to their needs. We want people who have experienced treatment, or are currently looking at having treatment, to sign up to our anonymous and confidential patients’ panel to help us make services better for themselves and others in the future.

_ The HFEA’s Equality and Diversity group are looking at HFEA practices and policies and the information we provide to patients to ensure that we reach all ethnic groups. Part of the group’s work is to look at the best ways of reaching all fertility patients and those who are thinking of fertility treatment.


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