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MFS Success Rates

The most recent MFS success rates are now available on the new-design website. Three types of success rates show:

  • headline success rates – simplified single figures for an ‘at a glance’ understanding of the outcome of some treatments
  • summary results – statistics of the outcomes of key stages of each treatment, including the livebirth rate (LBR) for the cumulative three year tables and the pregnancy rates for the results of treatments carried out in 2008 (some pregnancies from last year are still on-going and so LBRs cannot be produced yet)
  • extended results – comprehensive results of all stages of each treatment for 2008 and also cumulative data for the three years 2005-2007 (where available)

When comparing success rates with other clinics, ensure that the age group of the women is exactly the same or comparisons will be inaccurate.

Contact Jyoti Patel, MFS information analyst, for more information about success rates at MFS.

High-Tech DMS at MFS

In February 2009 MFS implemented the first phase of the Data Management System, an electronic system for storing and updating patient contact information, appointments and records, which will eventually replace the hard copy patients’ notes and diary system currently in use.

Already patients may have noticed the new stationery which was launched to coincide with the administration changes required by the DMS, and some may also have been aware of faster response times when staff have checked their contact information. By 2010 clinical and laboratory staff will input notes and any updates to treatment directly to the DMS rather than onto paper and the system will also link with the finance department software. In addition, in the case of any severe incident where Centre House cannot be used for any period of time, the DMS will remain accessible to MFS staff, so that essential treatment may continue, as part of the company’s disaster recovery plan.

It’s all part of MFS’s on-going commitment to improve the efficiency of its business systems for the benefit all patients. Read more about the development and implementation of the MFS DMS in A Day in the Life, which looks at an average working day for Lorraine Sears, the DMS project manager.

Late motherhood

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Channel 4’s ‘Cutting Edge‘ series is planning a programme about Late Motherhood and wants to talk to any women who are aged 45+ who are ‘pregnant, planning to become pregnant or already have a child’ who was conceived in their late 40s.

The programme will be directed by Amanda Blue a BAFTA nominated filmmaker whose work covers many very sensitive issues, including the The Mummy Diaries, about families dealing with the trauma of a mother diagnosed with cancer.

Any MFS patient interested in finding out more about the programme, with no obligation to take part, may call Faye Hamilton, assistant producer at Blast Films, the production company making the programme, on 020 7267 4260 or 07870 698149, by mid-July 2009.

IVF-related sickness absence and employment law

Up until very recently, working women undergoing IVF treatment were not afforded any specific employment protection and IVF -related sickness absences could be taken into account in the same way as other sickness absence for dismissal and disciplinary purposes.

However, the position has now changed for the better, with the European Court of Justice giving some clear legal guidance on IVF-related absence in the case of Mayr v Bäckerei und Konditorei Gerhard Flöckner OHG C-506/06 (2008).

Ms Mayr was undergoing IVF and after hormone treatment lasting about six weeks, her eggs had been collected and fertilised using IVF, but she had not yet had her embryo transfer. On her doctor’s advice, Ms Mayr took a week’s sick leave to give the greatest chance of success following her transfer. However, almost immediately before the embryo transfer, her employer dismissed her. Ms Mayr argued that she was pregnant at the time that she was dismissed and that her dismissal was therefore unlawful under the Austrian laws incorporating the EC Pregnant Worker’s Directive.

But the European Court took the view that a woman undergoing IVF is not protected from discrimination and detrimental treatment on the basis of pregnancy until the embryo has actually been transferred to her uterus. As embryos can remain frozen for many years before transfer, a contrary ruling would have afforded very broad protection. In Ms Mayr’s case, the dismissal tool effect before transfer when the embryo was still in vitro, meaning that she could not claim protection under the EC Pregnant Worker’s Directive.

 However, the European Court held instead that women at an advanced stage of fertility treatment (after egg collection) are protected by the EC Equal Treatment Directive, which provides for the equal treatment of men and women is implemented in the UK through the Sex Discrimination Act 1976.

The European Court’s reasoning is rooted in the fact that a woman who receives invasive fertility treatment is undergoing a process which a man cannot. For this reason, as with pregnancy cases, once the woman has reached the stage of egg collection, no male comparator is necessary in order to establish a claim. Any less favourable treatment on the grounds of IVF treatment is unlawful. At earlier stages in the process the woman will have to compare her treatment with that afforded to a male in similar circumstances in the usual way.

This judgement extends current protections, as it makes clear that the dismissal of a woman on the grounds of sickness absence due to later stages of IVF will constitute unlawful sex discrimination. This reasoning will extend to other adverse treatment such as performance or disciplinary action, selection for redundancy or demotion. This means that IVF absence in the period between the egg collection and (fresh) embryo transfer must be disregarded for these purposes in the same way as pregnancy-related absence.


Absence arising before then may be treated in the same way as other sickness absence, although the woman must not be treated less favourably than a man in similar circumstances.

The Mayr case did not deal with the question of pay for IVF absence. However, an employer must not treat IVF absence less favourably than any other absence. If other staff have been permitted reduced or flexible hours in similar circumstances such as returning from sickness absence, woman should be permitted the same flexibility during IVF treatment.

An employee about to embark on the IVF process should check whether her employer has a policy which covers leave for such treatment. She should also speak to her doctors to see if they have any recommendations about reduced hours. Possible options for IVF absence if there is no specific policy, include sick leave, annual leave, time-off in lieu, flexi-time or compassionate leave. An employer may be willing to allow paid time off work as a matter of best practice even in the absence of a specific policy.

Should an employee suspect that she has been subjected to detrimental treatment as a result of IVF -related sickness absence, she may have grounds to pursue a complaint in the Employment Tribunal. The normal time limit within which a complaint of sex discrimination in employment must be brought is within three months less one day of the act complained of. The tribunal has discretion to allow claims to be submitted late where in all circumstances of the case it considers it just and equitable to do so. However, despite the breadth of this discretion, tribunals will often strictly adhere to the time limits and this means that it is important for women who feel thy may have been treated unlawfully to seek advice as soon as possible.

Emma Hawksworth, partner, Employment Law Team Russell Jones & Walker. With thanks to Emma Hawksworth and IN UK for allowing use of this article which originally appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of the IN UK magazine.