Five million IVF babies since 1978

Five million IVF babies have been born since assisted reproduction began in 1978. The milestone figure was announced at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Constantinopoli, Turkey.

Experts based the estimate on worldwide figures for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment cycles up to 2008. The pattern was extended to gauge how many treatments took place over the next three years. It is believed to have reached five million last year. Passing the five million milestone represented a moment of pride for all fertility scientists.

When Louise Brown was born on July 25, 1978, the birth of a “test tube baby”, as she was described in the media at the time, caused an ethical debate.

British experts said that IVF has since become routine. Dr Allan Pacey, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “I think it’s more than just older women relying on IVF. I think it’s more about accessibility, social acceptability, funding issues and, to an extent, that IVF is part of the mainstream now.”

Another IVF expert said: “The five million milestone not only justifies all the legal and moral battles, the ethical debates and hard-fought social approval, it is also a testament to the great scientists and doctors who have worked so hard to improve the treatment.”

Official Documented Success rates from one IVF treatment cycle are at around 32 per cent per embryo transfer, the meeting heard.


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