February 18, 2014
Record Number Of US Babies Born Using IVF Procedures
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
There were more test-tube babies born in the US in the year 2012 than ever before, and they represented the highest percentage of total infant births since the advent of in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology three decades ago, according to the annual report of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).
The SART report, which was released on Monday, said that there were a record 61,740 American babies born through the IVF process, in which eggs and sperm are mixed together under laboratory conditions.
That figure represents an increase of 2,000 so-called test tube births over the previous year, and represents 1.5 percent of all infants born nationwide, according to a story appearing in Monday’s edition of the Daily Mail.
Furthermore, the 379 infertility clinics that comprise the medical organization (which represent more than 90 percent of such facilities in the US) told Reuters that they performed 165,172 IVF procedures during the 2012 calendar year.
“The growing percentage reflects, in part, the increasing average age at which women give birth for the first time, since fertility problems become more common as people age,” the news organization explained. “The average age of first-time mothers is now about 26 years; it was 21.4 years in 1970.”
While the increasing number of children born through IVF would suggest that the process has gained mainstream acceptance, author and health/human rights advocate Miriam Zoll pointed out that the statistics – particularly when it comes to the success rate of test-tube babies – hide what she calls vast disparities.
“It's important for people to understand that women over 35 have the highest percentage of failures,” Zoll, who in 2013 wrote the book Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies, told Reuters. She added that IVF births had “consistently failed two-thirds of the time” since the first procedure was completed in 1978.
According to the Daily Mail, the SART report also found that the number of IVF twin and triplet births were down. This was because infertility clinics transferred fewer embryos per cycle in 2012 than they had in 2011 – a result of criticism the industry faced over the practice of transferring multiple embryos to increase the odds of becoming pregnant.
Earlier this month, a team of American and Belgian researchers writing in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online described a novel method that had already resulted in the birth of sixteen healthy infants.
“This system reproducibly generates de novo the atmospheric and culture conditions that support normal fertilization and preimplantation embryogenesis to the hatched blastocyst stage without the need for specialized medical-grade gases or equipment,” the study authors wrote.
“Development from insemination to the hatched blastocyst stage occurs undisturbed in a completely closed system that enables timed performance assessments for embryo selection” involving “single-embryo transfers,” they added. The procedure could ultimately make IVF less expensive and available to more people worldwide.