At the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) we recently launched our new website. As the specialist regulator of fertility treatment, we want patients to have access to high quality care – and that means high quality information and preparation for treatment, as much as it means the treatment itself. Our new site provides patients, donors and donor conceived people with friendly, impartial information in a clear, fresh design – easy to navigate from a phone, laptop or tablet.

 Our website re-design gave us the opportunity to gather feedback and include additional features beneficial to both patients and clinics. One clear message from patients was that they struggle to make sense of success rates, and can find differentiating between clinics overwhelming. In response, we have completely redesigned the ‘Choose a Fertility Clinic’ service to emphasise two key things about selecting a clinic: that it’s not all about birth rates and that statistics can be misleading.

 Choose a Fertility Clinic helps people to research clinics and view comparable information, without the statistics becoming a league table. It presents rounded information about the quality of the clinic’s service based on three measures: the inspection rating, a new patient rating, and whether the birth rate is consistent with the national average. We have produced an animation to help patients understand why these three measures are important, and what birth rates can and can’t tell them.

 The new patient rating tool asks recent patients and donors to rate their clinic according to their experience of the care they received. Compassionate staff, involvement in decision-making, and clarity about pricing are all important and by rating a clinic on these factors   allows future patients to choose a clinic on more than one criterion, and in turn will encourage clinics to focus as much on patient care as they do on achieving high birth rates.

 Our overarching aim for the new website was to help patients and donors make better, more informed decisions, and to improve the quality of care they receive. We hope we have achieved that with our new site, and are keen for patients, clinics and partner organisations to let us know what they think:

www.hfea.gov.uk