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Test-tube babies

Test-tube baby births reach record high in US

Saturday, February 22, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: test-tube babies, in vitro fertilization, pregnancy

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(NaturalNews) More Americans than ever are choosing to have children via in vitro fertilization (IVF) as opposed to a traditional pregnancy, says a new report recently put out by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). According to the latest data, a record 165,172 IVF procedures took place in the U.S. in 2012, more than one-third of which resulted in successful births.

Since its initial debut in the 1980s, the IVF procedure has soared in popularity, particularly due to the fact that the average woman today has her first child at an older age, when fertility problems are more likely to occur. Back in 1970, for instance, the average age of a first-time mother was 21.4 years. Today, it is 26 years.

Consequently, many aging women are looking for an alternative to traditional pregnancy, hence the growing interest in IVF. As of this writing, IVF procedures now account for more than 1.5 percent of total births in the U.S., which some say ups the status of IVF from an experimental technology to a mainstream fertility procedure.

According to SART, which represents some 379 fertility clinics across the country, or more than 90 percent of the fertility industry, upwards of 40 percent of fertility treatment attempts in women 35 years of age or younger result in successful live births. This percentage drops slightly to 31.3 percent in women between the ages of 35 and 37, and to 22.2 percent in women 38 to 40.

But the success rate of IVF drops significantly in women over the age of 40. A mere 11.8 percent of IVF attempts in women between the ages of 41 and 42 are successful, which equates to roughly half the success rate in those aged 38 to 40. And in women 43 years of age and older, the success rate plummets even further to only 3.9 percent.

"It's important for people to understand that women over 35 have the highest percentage of failures," says Miriam Zoll, author of the 2013 book Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies, as quoted by FoxNews.com. "These treatments have consistently failed two-thirds of the time since 1978," when they were first attempted in England.

IVF technology still dangerous for women, despite improvements

At the same time, IVF technology has evolved considerably since it was first introduced. While IVF physicians of the past would often transfer multiple embryos at a time in an attempt to increase the odds of pregnancy, for instance, today's IVF physicians are starting to abandon this practice due to an observed pattern of negative outcomes.

IVF doctors in 2012, according to the SART report, were able to convince about 15 percent of women under the age of 35, and nearly 9 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 37, to opt for lower-risk, single-embryo transfers rather than multiple-embryo transfers. Now, the average number of embryos transferred is under three across all age groups.

But IVF is still risky, as supposedly healthy babies born using the technology sometimes develop health problems later on down the road. IVF children are also at an elevated risk of being born with birth defects and genetic damage, which may increase their risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases as adults, something which many IVF pioneers are overlooking and failing to test for.

"The problem is that we are now doing things in the laboratory which are not being tested the way they should be," stated Professor Robert Winston, head of fertility services at the U.K.'s Hammersmith Hospital, during the British Association Festival of Science, a prestigious gathering of British scientists.

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