40 years of IVF

40 years ago the first “tube baby” was born. More than 8 million have been born since then. children with IVF

Nearly forty years after the historic birth on July 25, 1978 of Louise Brown, the first “tube baby”, in a British hospital, more than eight million babies have been born worldwide by in vitro fertilization to date.

It is estimated that more than half a million babies are born with IVF each year, and more than two million IVF cycles are performed each year. These figures were announced at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Barcelona.

European assisted reproduction clinics prefer the method of microfertilization or intrauterine sperm injection (ICSI) over the conventional IVF method. In total, about twice as many ICSIs are performed in Europe each year (356,351 in 2015, according to the latest figures), than IVF (131,221).

A similar proportion is observed in the rest of the world. ICSI was developed in the early 1990s as a treatment specifically for male infertility (due to sparse and poor sperm quality), but is now more widely used.

The European country with the most IVF per year is Spain (around 120,000 cycles), followed by Russia, Germany and France. The percentage of pregnancies after in vitro fertilization in Europe reaches 36% of the total, ie more than one in three pregnancies in total. Pregnancy rates are higher when a woman transfers an IVF to a five-day-old than a three-day-old fetus.

Also, pregnancies after egg donation continue to increase and have now reached about half of the total (50%). On the other hand, twin pregnancies after IVF continue to decline in Europe and are now around 14%. Furthermore, the transfer rate of a single IVF (embryo) is constantly increasing, exceeding 38%, from only 11% in 1997.

Moreover, the cooling and preservation of fertilized embryos is gaining ground. In about 15% of all IVF cycles, all embryos are frozen for use in a subsequent cycle.

According to estimates, the demand for IVF is constantly increasing internationally and there is a worldwide need for about 1,500 cycles per million inhabitants per year. In Europe some countries, such as Denmark and Belgium, offer much more cycles (over 2,500 per million population), but others, such as Austria and Italy, offer significantly less than demand, which seems to be growing at an average annual rate. rate of about 7%.

(With information from ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ)