IVF birth numbers higher than ever

More babies than ever are the result of IVF treatment, according to the latest report on assisted conception released today by the AIHW's National Perinatal Statistics Unit (NPSU) and the Fertility Society of Australia.

In 2000, 4,801 babies were born in Australia after IVF, accounting for 1.9% of all births. In 1992 there were 2,237 births as the result of IVF treatment, accounting for 0.9% of all births.

Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 2000 and 2001 also shows that viable pregnancy rates have doubled from what they were a decade ago, with the chance of pregnancy with each IVF treatment cycle being almost 21% in 2001.

The average age of all women who gave birth after assisted conception treatment was 33.6 years--more than four and a half years older than the average age of Australian mothers in 2000.

NPSU Clinical Advisor in Women's Health, Professor Michael Chapman, said that the proportion of women over 40 years of age having treatment had increased.

'However their pregnancy rates are significantly less than those achieved by younger women.'

'So, even though our report shows that assisted reproductive technology continues to improve, women still need to consider the trade-off between risks and benefits when delaying childbearing.'

'It's also worth noting that caesarean rates for assisted conception pregnancies were around double the rate for all Australian mothers in 2000.'

Professor Chapman said the improvements in pregnancy rates from IVF treatment were mainly due to advances in laboratory techniques and management of treatment cycles.

'This has been achieved while transferring fewer embryos in each treatment cycle, which has reduced the incidence of triplets and quadruplets. Twin pregnancy rates, however, remain high for IVF births.'

Since IVF commenced in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1980s, both countries have been recognised as having one of the most comprehensive IVF 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.

13 June 2003


Further information: Professor Michael Chapman, School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, tel. 02 9350 2315 or tel. 0412 900 120 (mobile)

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1032