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Fertility & IVF sector M&A report

With strong demand drivers, the UK fertility sector continues to attract international investors and acquirers. View our insights into the market in the report below.

Fertility market drivers

  • After years of consistent growth in the number of IVF cycles across the UK, levels have stabilised since 2017

  • This suggests a stagnating market, however, the plateau in cycles is influenced by NHS England funding cuts, which have altered the overall market split between private and NHS-funded treatments

  • In fact, demand drivers are very positive, with a number of factors suggesting the market will remain buoyant:

    • A rise in the average age couples choose to have children

    • Greater number of same sex couples seeking IVF

    • Increasing prevalence of male and female infertility

    • Greater social acceptance of IVF

    • Improved IVF success rates due to advances in technology 

    • Growing accessibility to digital fertility devices and apps

  • These factors are driving forecast market growth at a CAGR 5.9% through to 2030

  • The fertility sector is also becoming increasingly globalised, with several operators establishing themselves as truly multi-national players, capitalising on opportunities in geographies where fertility treatments are underpenetrated

  • As technology continues to advance, the ability to standardise processes will drive synergies for large groups, leading to margin improvements and pricing pressure on smaller operators

Growth in UK IVF cycles

M&A in the fertility market

  • During the market’s high growth years, private equity-backed players deployed significant capital through the opening of new clinics and selective acquisitions to generate scale and “land grab” as the market expanded

  • As the market matures, the ability to grow organically through the creation of new clinics will become more challenging and bolt-on acquisitions will be attractive options

  • A shortage of multi-clinic acquisition targets, however, will drive up valuations of the few remaining privately owned players of scale when sale processes take place

  • This demand has been demonstrated not only through domestic deals, but also through the entry of international operators into the market through acquisition (such as FutureLife, IVF Life and IVI)

  • Smaller single clinic operators face more challenging exit options, with limited scale and key person risk influencing their attractiveness as acquisition targets for larger groups

  • The merging of smaller players may therefore take place to optimise exit options, as founders of clinics in the high growth years look to retire in the medium term

  • Genus Medical Partnership is an example of this approach, looking to group together single clinics where they have a limited ability to scale in isolation, but can draw upon the resources of a broader network of clinics


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