More than 10,000 babies a year born in Australia and NZ with a little help from ART

More than 10,000 babies were born to women who had fertility treatments in Australia and New Zealand in 2006, according to the latest assisted reproduction technology (ART) report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

According to the report, Assisted reproduction technology in Australia and New Zealand 2006, 9,291 babies were born in Australia, and 1,231 were born in New Zealand following assisted reproduction treatment.

'Of these 10,522 babies, most (over 78%) were single births, the highest proportion ever reported. About 20% were twins and less than 1% were higher order multiple births,' said Professor Peter Illingworth, President of the Fertility Society of Australia.

The number of babies whose conception was assisted by fertility treatments increased by 5% over the previous year, adding to a 34% rise in 'ART babies' since 2002.

'Single-embryo transfer cycles are on the rise, reflecting the continuing trend of fewer embryos transferred per ART treatment cycle,' Mr Illingworth said.

More than half (57%) of all embryo transfer cycles in 2006 were single-embryo transfers, compared to around 48% in 2005, 41% in 2004, 32% in 2003 and 28% in 2002.

'The increase in single-embryo transfer cycles resulted in more single baby or singleton deliveries,' he said.

The report showed a 13.7% increase in treatment cycles over 2005. There were 53,543 treatment cycles in 2006. Of them, about 91% (48,607) were in Australian fertility centres and 9% (4,936) in New Zealand centres.

Of the 48,607 treatment cycles carried out in Australia, 22% resulted in a clinical pregnancy, and 17% resulted in a live delivery.

Of the 4,936 treatment cycles in New Zealand, 28% resulted in a clinical pregnancy, and 22% in a live delivery.

The highest live delivery rate (over 26%) was in women aged 26-31 years who used their own fresh eggs. The live delivery rate decreased progressively for women after the age of 31.

For women aged 40 years or older who used their own fresh eggs, only 6% of cycles resulted in a live delivery. However, the proportion of women aged older than 40 years who did achieve successful birth outcomes has increased from 14% in 2002 to 16% in 2006.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Further information: Professor Peter Illingworth, mob. 0418 615 344, or Professor Michael Chapman, mob. 0412 900 120.

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