Fertility treatment: A guide to your consumer rights

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced this guide to help you understand what your main consumer law rights are at the different stages of considering and undergoing fertility treatment.


A guide to your consumer rights: printable version


When you buy and undergo fertility treatment, it is important that you know that you are a consumer as well as a patient. You have the same consumer protections and rights as you do when buying a product or service from other types of businesses.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced this guide to help you understand your consumer law rights when you are:

  • researching clinics and treatments
  • deciding whether to buy fertility treatment and which treatment options to choose
  • undergoing treatment and may need to make decisions about proposed changes to your agreed treatment

This guide primarily focuses on your consumer relationship with the clinic providing your fertility treatment. You may be considering using, or have consumer relationships with, other businesses, such as sperm banks, pharmacies, complementary therapists or multi-cycle providers of fertility treatment.

Please note that this guide sets out the CMA’s views of your consumer law rights but only a court can decide if there has been a breach of consumer law, based on the relevant individual circumstances.

As well as producing this guide for patients, we’ve also published guidance for clinics, to help them understand and comply with their consumer law obligations. If they don’t comply, they could face action.

Information this guide covers

From our published patient research (PDF, 955KB), we know that the 4 main factors that influenced most patients’ decision when they chose a fertility clinic were:

  • location of the clinic
  • success rates of the clinic,
  • price of treatment
  • positive impression of the clinic and its staff

This guide covers your main consumer law rights in relation to the location of the clinic, success rates and the price of treatment. It also covers the important issues of contract terms and complaints handling, where our research with patients and engagement with clinics identified a lack of awareness of consumer law.

This guide also includes information about your rights if you’re having treatment overseas.

It also sets out where to go to seek advice, or report concerns, if you think a clinic or any other fertility business, has not complied with sector regulation or consumer law.

Published 10 June 2021