Odds Improve for Infertile Couples Hoping to Conceive

How many couples do you know that have undergone IVF in order to conceive a child? Are you one of them?

Experts estimate that approximately 5 million babies have been born as a result of assisted reproduction technologies since the first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, was born in July 1978. FIVE MILLION BABIES. That’s a lot of parents whose dreams of having a child might otherwise never have come true. Yay, science!

According to data presented at last month’s 28th Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), in Istanbul, Turkey, the number of babies born via IVF (in vitro fertilization) and similar techniques is growing every year and, as it becomes more mainstream, it’s also becoming more successful. Since 2008, the success rate from a single fresh treatment cycle of IVF and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) has stabilized at around a 32 percent pregnancy rate for each embryo that is transferred.

Meanwhile, as the number of births increases, the total number of embryos transferred has dropped significantly; more single-embryo transfers means greater survival rates for the babies, since multiples are at an increased risk for complications. One doctor cited stats that said the rate of triplets born to couples who have undergone ART has fallen below 1 percent and the twin delivery rate was at an all-time low of 19.6 percent.

According to Medical News Today, Dr. Anna Veiga, chairwoman of ESHRE and scientific director at Dexeus University Institute, in Barcelona, Spain, said:

“Five million babies are a clear demonstration that IVF and ICSI are now an essential part of normalized and standardized clinical therapies for the treatment of infertile couples.”

What could be better news for infertile couples and the people who care about them?

I have a handful of family members and friends who have dealt with varying forms of infertility. Some have chosen medical procedures like IVF, some have opted for adoption, and others have decided to be child-free. The fact that  infertility treatments have become, as Dr. Veiga said above, “normalized and standardized” makes me hope the next step is making the process more affordable for people who need it.