Date Published: 13 October 2006

Single women and lesbian couples urged to speak about fertility services

The last five years have seen a 2.5 fold increase in numbers of single women having IVF and a 4 fold increase in lesbian couples having IVF treatments.

Single women and lesbian couples across the UK 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 a growing number of these women are coming forward for fertility treatment.

The number of single women undergoing IVF has risen 2.5 times over the last five years, and the numbers of lesbian couples having IVF has risen by four. In 2005, just under a third of patients having Donor Insemination treatment (full details of the figures are below).

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

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

We are concerned to make sure that people undergoing fertility treatment receive services that are safe, appropriate and sensitive to their needs. 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.

_ UK fertility law does not rule out any groups from having fertility treatment and we have seen a growing number of single women and lesbian couples receiving treatment in the country’s fertility clinics.

_ We are asking 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 groups who are receiving fertility treatment. 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.”


Clear and impartial advice on fertility treatment and the options available to people can be found in the HFEA Guide to Infertility 2006/07. This can be obtained free by ringing the HFEA on 020 7291 2200, by e-mailing or from the HFEA website The website also contains an interactive clinic search which lets people compare clinics in their area, giving information about treatment numbers and live birth rates tailored to their individual circumstances.


Source: Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

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