By Accountable Care Journal-
The UK market for fertility treatment (principally in vitro fertilisation (IVF) but also intra uterine insemination (IUI)) is experiencing accelerating growth, with volumes growing by around 3 per cent, per year.
Key drivers currently include the greater acceptability of IVF as a route to having a family, especially as the number of people delaying starting a family is rising and more same-sex couples opt to have families. Success rates, which have improved by a factor of 2.5x since 1991, are also encouraging more childless people to turn to IVF.
As of 2016, the market was worth £320m, made up of 68,000 IVF cycles and 13,500 IUI cycles. The market is served by 82 fertility clinics and 30 satellite clinics, making it fragmented and the largest groups account for less than 25 per cent of the cycles. While major hospital groups such as HCA, BMI and Nuffield are involved in the market, they do not seem to be growing their presence.
There remain also a large number of owner-managed clinics, many of which were established in the high-growth years of the mid- 1990s, meaning that some owners may be considering exiting. This offers opportunities for would-be investors.
Future growth is likely to be fuelled by further innovation. Clinics and clinicians are always looking for ways of improving their success rates and to add value for their clients. Innovations in genetic testing are reducing the risk of passing on inherited diseases, yet pre-implantation genetic diagnostics still only account for around 1 per cent of IVF cycles. Also, by international standards, the UK has low treatment rates pointing to scope for future growth as confidence in IVF, its success rates and benefits increases.
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