Major advances in IVF technology in the last two years have doubled viable pregnancy rates from what they were a decade ago, according to the latest report on assisted conception released today by the AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit (NPSU) and the Fertility Society of Australia.
Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000 shows the chance of pregnancy with each IVF treatment cycle was 18% in 2000. NPSU Management Advisory Committee Member, Professor Michael Chapman, said these improvements were due to advances in culture mediums and incubators used in laboratories.
The report shows that more babies than ever are the result of IVF treatments. In 1999, more than 4,300 babies were born in Australia after IVF, accounting for 1.7% of all births. There were over 400 births after IVF in New Zealand, accounting for 0.7% of all births there.
Professor Chapman said that increases in pregnancy rates were being achieved 'despite the transfer of fewer embryos in each treatment cycle, therefore reducing the incidence of triplets and quadruplets. Twin pregnancy rates, however, remain a concern.'
'The proportion of women over 40 years of age seeking treatment has increased,' Professor Chapman said. 'However their pregnancy rates are still significantly less than those achieved by younger women.
'Women need to be aware that to delay conception can result in disappointment and frustration-despite continuing improvements in assisted reproductive technology.'
Since IVF commenced in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1980s, both countries have been recognised as having the most comprehensive data collection in the world. All IVF units provide information on all treatment cycles to the NPSU, a collaborating unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, located at the University of New South Wales.