Infertility is a more common situation than most people realise. It is estimated that about 1 in 6 couples in Britain, who are trying for a child, need to seek medical assistance. Luckily there have been huge medical advances over many years now and in most cases it is possible to help people start their families. In fact, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has recently released figures showing that the 250,000th British IVF baby was born in February 2015. Back in July 2016, ESHRE (the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology), published that 6.5 million IVF babies have been born worldwide since the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, entered the world in 1978.
The use of IVF is increasing
The HFEA was established in 1991, in which year there were 6,609 IVF cycles in Britain. By 2013 that number had risen to 67,708 and it is most likely that this trend has continued through to today. And that is not to say that every couple suffering fertility problems needs IVF. Many more are treated with less aggressive treatments such as medications alone, cycle monitoring or artificial insemination. With so many couples needing assistance, the odds are that some of your friends have already been through, or are currently going through, fertility treatment.
Why Do More People Have IVF?
There are many causes of infertility and these are listed elsewhere on this website. It is a fantastic thing that medical science can help people to have a family and we have to remember that this is something that was not available to previous generations. We met Louise Brown at the Fertility Show at Olympia earlier in November and it brings it home that this, living, breathing, young woman was the very first. So that’s one reason why more people have IVF – because they can! And because IVF techniques continued to improve over the years, with the chances of success rising from 14% to 26.5% over the HFEA’s lifetime, this has made it a more sensible option for more people. One other reason for the rise in IVF is worth mentioning again, and that is the more and more common decision to leave starting a family to later on in life. Whether that is for social reasons, with people not meeting their right partner until later on, or because of the choice, or pressure, to put career first, more and more people sadly seem to be not trying to start their families until after their peak fertility years have started to pass.
Is IVF The Only Option?
There are other fertility treatments available apart from IVF. Usually, however, they will have a lower chance of success. Against that, they are usually less expensive and less aggressive to the body. There are many factors to be weighed in deciding upon a fertility treatment and the best advice, if you suspect you may have a fertility problem, is to see a fertility specialist & let them advise whether you should have IVF, or another treatment, or should simply give nature a little more time.