8 million babies born through IVF says study

Louise Brown was the first “test-tube” baby who was born in 1978. It has been forty years since then and an international committee looked at the progress of assisted reproduction through these years. The report states that more than 8 million babies were born using IVF technology during this time.

Image Credit: Fizkes / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Fizkes / Shutterstock

Dr David Adamson spoke on behalf of the International Committee for Monitoring ART (ICMART) and in his statement said, “Based on ICMART's annual collection of global IVF data, it is estimated that since Louise Brown’s birth in 1978 over 8 Million babies have been born from IVF around the world.” The final numbers have been calculated from the data that was obtained from the regional registries between 1991 and 2014. These show a steep rise in the collective use of IVF in treating infertility. The report reveals that yearly around 2 million treatment cycles are performed and from the IVF and ICSI procedures around half a million babies are born.

The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) collected data from the national registry data of ART (Artificial reproduction technology) cycles that were undertaken in Europe since 1997. The reports show that Spain is the leading country in terms of ART use with a record 119,875 treatment cycles in 2015. Russia showed 110,723 cycles, Germany 96,512 cycles and France 93,918 cycles in the same year. The ESHRE records included IVF, ICSI and egg donations as ART.

This latest report shows that in 2015 a total of 800,000 treatment cycles were performed from which 157,449 babies were born. This remains one of the most accurate pictures of the ART status is Europe say experts.  The findings of the report would be presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Barcelona this week by Dr Christian de Geyter, chairman of ESHRE’s European IVF Monitoring Consortium. According to Dr de Geyter this report covers around 80 percent of all the assisted reproduction fertility treatments in Europe and is thus fairly representative.

The report in addition also showed that most ART clinics in Europe favoured ICSI over IVF in a two-to-one pattern (there were total of 356,351 ICSI cases compared to 131,221 cases of IVF). The report also noted that pregnancy rates from the procedures had stabilized at around 36 percent. It was found that pregnancy rates per embryo transfer were higher with implantation of five-day-old embryos compared to three-day old embryos. Egg donations showed a high rate of pregnancy at around 50 percent, it was found. Twin and multiple pregnancies are a common problem with ART. The new report shows that rates of twin pregnancies in Europe as a result of ART, have declined to around 14 percent in 2015. Single embryo transfers have a lower rate of success and thus multiple embryo transfers were preferred. However with improvements in techniques single embryo transfers have risen from 11 percent in 1997 to 38 percent in 2015.

De Geyter said in his statement, “Success rates have stabilised, although outcome in egg donation and with use of frozen embryos is still moving upwards. The biggest upwards movement, however, is from treatments with frozen eggs, which have been revolutionised by the widespread introduction of vitrification.” Freezing by vitrification has been relatively more widely used and has been made possible by egg banking and more number of donor eggs said De Geyter.

De Geyter added that there were some European countries that were still lagging in their availability of ART and these countries included Denmark, Belgium, Austria and Italy. A previous study had calculated that the minimum requirement of a million population annually was 1500 cycles of ART. These European countries showed around 2500 cycles per million and according to De Geyter only a minority of European countries meet the required numbers.

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