New survey on public attitudes to IVF
Press release issued: 28 July 2003
An exciting collaboration between Bristol University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine and the science and discovery centre, At-Bristol, has provided new insights into the public perception of infertility.
In 2002, teams from the two centres, led by Dr Penny Fidler and Julian Jenkins, surveyed public views on the subject of infertility.
Visitors to the shopping complex in Bristol city centre were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire, in private, by entering their views directly into a computer.
Subsequently, this questionnaire was transferred to a website produced by At-Bristol and the responses of more than 800 people were collected. As the views on the website were consistent with the initial shopping centre poll, both sets of results were analysed together.
These results showed that respondents underestimated both the frequency of infertility and the effectiveness of IVF treatment for women in their early 30s.
The survey supported a consistent approach to NHS infertility services throughout the UK treating infertility the same as any other morbidity. It was not generally felt that treatment should be denied solely due to a lower chance of success, but age of the mother was an important consideration with different views on the upper age limit.
Overall the questionnaire was supportive of NHS funded infertility services and an end to the 'post code lottery' of provision.
This is particularly important information as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence are currently reviewing the NHS provision of infertility services and, from April 2003, the NHS closed the list for all infertility referrals in the Bristol region pending the outcome of a review of infertility services.
To add your views to the survey and see a detailed breakdown of opinions (including those of men vs women), go to: www.youramazingbrain.org.uk/lovesex/fertility
For many years through the ReproMED project, Julian Jenkins and colleagues in the University of Bristol have pioneered the provision of information to the public and professionals over the internet and launched a formal biomedical science degree delivered principally over the internet in 2001. For more information visit: www.ReproMED.org.uk