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HFEA responds to top 10 infertility research priorities

A global research project has identified the top ten priorities for future research across four key areas: male infertility, female and unexplained infertility, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other treatments including IVF add-ons, and the organisation of care.

The project, a collaboration between the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group, the University of Auckland, and the University of Oxford, was launched to identify the most pressing research questions as perceived by people with fertility problems, patient organisations, and professionals.

More than 700 people from 52 countries participated, including over 330 people with fertility problems and their partners.

People with fertility problems, patient organisations, and professionals suggested over 423 different research questions, which were further prioritised in a second international survey, and finally refined to the top ten at an international consultation meeting.

A spokesperson for the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, the UK fertility regulator, said:

“There have been many advances in the development of fertility treatment since the birth of Louise Brown over 40 years ago. Yet, as identified by this project, the IVF sector, both in the UK and elsewhere, still lacks a culture of high-quality evidence-based research with the right ‘reach and relevance’ to improve outcomes for patients.

“We hope that this project to identify the most pressing research questions - whether on male infertility, unexplained infertility or so-called add-on treatments, will provide a much-needed focus to help researchers and funders to tackle the most pressing problems that we are seeing in infertility.

“We’ll continue to keep a close eye on any future research findings to see how we may integrate these into our work and the information we publish for clinics and patients.”

The new research priorities were launched today at the annual international meeting of fertility experts at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. 

To find out more download the full list of research priorities.

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Review date: 25 June 2021