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Number of test-tube babies born in US hits high record

Discussion in 'Gynaecology and Obstetrics' started by Hala, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Hala

    Hala Golden Member Verified Doctor

    Oct 17, 2013
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    More test-tube babies are being born in the United States than ever before, and they constitute a higher percentage of total births than at any other time since the technology was introduced in the 1980s, according to a report released Monday.

    The annual report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), an organization of medical professionals, suggests the rising number of test-tube births may be related to U.S. wome's giving birth later in life.

    The SART's 379 member clinics — more than 90 percent of the infertility clinics in the country — reported that in 2012 (the latest year for which the statistics were available) they performed 165,172 procedures involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which an egg from the mother-to-be or a donor is fertilized in a lab dish. They resulted in the birth of 61,740 babies, about 2,000 more IVF babies than in 2011.

    With about 3.9 million babies born in the U.S. in 2012, the IVF newborns accounted for just over 1.5 percent of the total, more than ever before.

    Although the rising number of test-tube babies suggests that the technology has become mainstream, critics of IVF point out that the numbers, particularly the success rate, mask wide disparities.

    "It's important for people to understand that women over 35 have the highest percentage of failures," said Miriam Zoll, author of the 2013 book "Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies." "These treatments have consistently failed two-thirds of the time since 1978," when the first test-tube baby was born, in England.

    Earlier data from the SART showed that the percentage of attempts that result in live births is 10 times higher for women under 35 than for women over 42. And for the older women, fewer than half the IVF pregnancies result in live births.

    The growth in IVF reflects, in part, the increasing average age when women give birth for the first time, since fertility problems become more common as women age. The average age of first-time mothers is now about 26; it was 21.4 in 1970.

    After years when IVF physicians were criticized for transferring multiple embryos to increase the odds of pregnancy — because that sometimes resulted in the birth of triplets, who often face health risks — infertility clinics transferred fewer embryos per cycle in 2012 than 2011. As a result, the number of twin and triplet births were both down.

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