London, June 15 (ANI): The standards of British IVF clinics have come under the scanner as there is an upsurge in the number of errors at these treatment centres.
New figures are set to show around 200 "near misses" and serious -mistakes by infertility doctors.
Statistically, it is the fifth consecutive year that the number of blunders has gone up with the increasing demand for fertility treatment, fuelled by women hoping to get pregnant later in life.
In 2003 to 2004 there were 59 reported "incidents" at IVF clinics, but by 2006 to 2007, the number of reported mistakes had increased to 173.
According to reports, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has cautioned that the figure for 2007 to 2008 could be even higher when its annual report is published in August.
Critics have said that there were far more errors taking place than people realised.
Test-tube baby pioneer Lord Winston said that he was "not sure" how to prevent human error.
Dr. Simon Fishel, managing director of the CARE Fertility Group, said that "being honest" about mistakes would improve standards in British IVF clinics.
IVF treatment brings happiness to thousands of previously childless couples every year, but the process is not without controversy.
A HFEA spokeswoman said that it was "impossible to eliminate all human error" from the process as it involved microscopic materials.
She said that an example of a near miss is where the wrong egg or sperm is picked up but is not actually used.
In addition, she said that less than 0.5per cent of more than 50,000 IVF treatments carried out in the UK each year leads to an incident - more serious than a near miss - being reported. (ANI)