For many parents today the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been the option that helped them have their own children. Since 1978, 5 million IVF babies were born, reads an estimate presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul today.
While it remained highly scrutinized over the years, the IVF technique has by now become a routine practice in many areas of the world. Fertility experts say that what once sparked controversy is now part of the culture. Since the birth of the first “test tube baby”, 34 years have passed and 5 million babies were born thanks to this particular assisted reproductive technology.
On July 25th, 1978 Louise Brown was born. She was the first “test tube baby” to have ever been born and her coming to this world raised a lot of scrutiny. Louise Brown was the origin of a lengthy and emotionally intense ethical debate that took years to finally level up.
Fertility experts consider the five million mark to be of significant evidence that IVF is now an essential part of modern medicine. Dr. Simon Fishel with clinic chain Care Fertility UK and member of the team that helped Louise Brown to be born, said: “The five million milestone (…) justifies all the legal and moral battles, the ethical debates and hard-fought social approval”.
Dr. Allan Pacey, British Fertility Society chairman, explained during the meeting in Istanbul: “Everyone expected the proportion of IVF treatment cycles to plateau, but it hasn’t. Year-on-year we have seen what is effectively a linear rise”. From his point of view the popularity of the IVF is due to the “accessibility, social acceptability, funding issue and to an extent that IVF is part of the mainstream now”.
“The technology has improved greatly over the years to increase pregnancy rates. The babies are as healthy as those from other infertile patients who conceive spontaneously” said Dr. David Adamson with the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
“Millions of families with children have been created, thereby reducing the burden of infertility” said Dr. Adamson. “The technology is available globally in many different countries. IVF is firmly established now in the mainstream of medicine” he added.