July 2012 marks the date the five millionth baby was born through IVF. That’s an amazing number of babies born to people whom may have been unable to have a child on their own naturally (five million bundles of joy). It also is the year that the first woman to have a successful birth from IVF passed away. Louise Brown’s mother, Leslie Brown- the first woman who birthed Louise in July 1978 after conceiving through IVF, died this past June.
InVitro Fertilization has grown by leaps and bounds since 1978. The technology advanced to include more optimal treatments like ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: injects the sperm directly into the cell wall of the egg to help optimize fertilization). IVF is one of a small number of assisted reproductive technologies available today to help couples trying to conceive that are having difficulties doing so naturally. While this year marks the birth of the 5 millionth IVF baby and over 40 years of advancing, this type of ART still has its risks: multiples, birth defects and higher risks to the mother. While many must go through IVF on their path to conception, it may not work for everyone. The success rates for any procedures decrease as we age.
There are other types of ART available as “first steps” before IVF: Artificial Inseminations: ICI (intracervical insemination) and IUI (Intrauterine insemination). Different treatments can help with different types of infertility issues such as IVF with ICSI for male infertility factors. For those with unexplained fertility issues (approximately 1/3 of those trying to conceive are not diagnosed with male or female issues) many will start the process with ICI or IUI both a fraction of the cost of IVF. Speaking with your doctor or Reproductive Endocrinologist early on when you feel there may be problems with trying to conceive can help set you on perhaps the right path to parenthood.
Here is to many more births with assisted reproductive technologies and many more years of advancements that may help ALL trying to conceive.