April 21, 2024

At least 250,000 IVF babies born each year

But latest study gives only 2002 figures
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is responsible for an estimated 219,000 to 246,000 babies each year world-wide according to a study in the journal Human Reproduction. In just two years, from 2000 to 2002, ART activity increased by more than 25%. The most recent year for which world statistics are available is 2002, so all figures must have exploded since then. At that time, the availability of ART varied from two cycles per million inhabitants in Ecuador to 3,688 per million in Israel. Other key findings from the study:

* A large increase everywhere in the use of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) as opposed to conventional IVF. Since 2000 it increased from 54% to 61% in North America, 46% to 54% in Europe, and in 2002 it had reached 76% in Latin America and more than 92% in the Middle East. This has happened even though it is associated with a higher levels of birth defects and has never been clinically tested. IVF specialists are puzzledg.

* Pregnancy and delivery rates have increased for both fresh and frozen embryo cycles even though the number of embryos transferred has decreased.

* The transfer of multiple embryos has decreased, leading to a small decline in multiple births. The percentage of four or more embryo transfers decreased from 15.4% in 2000 to 13.7% in 2002. The proportion of twin and triplet pregnancies decreased from 26.5% to 25.7%, and from 2.9% to 2.5% respectively.

The authors warn that variation in data quality, in addition to differences in practices, legislation, guidelines, culture and religion, means that comparisons between countries "must be done with caution". ~ Science Daily, May 28