Five millionth test tube baby born

IVF experts celebrate milestone but warn IVF shouldn’t be seen as a back-up plan

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IVF experts around the world are celebrating after it was announced there have been 5 million test tube babies born since 1978.

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Taking into account official figures up to 2008 as well as 3 years of estimates, delegates hailed the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Icmart) findings as a “remarkable milestone,” reports the BBC.

Leslie Brown, mother of the first test tube baby, died last month. Leslie’s bravery was celebrated by Lord Robert Winston.

Presenting at the European Society of Human reproduction and Embryology conference, Icmart chairman Dr David Adamson said, “This technology has been highly successful in treating infertile patients. Millions of families with children have been created, thereby reducing the burden of infertility.”

The committee added, “About 1.5 million cycles of IVF, and similar techniques, are performed every year, resulting in 350,000 babies.”

Stuart Lavery, a director of IVF at Hammersmith hospital said, “IVF is now part of the mainstream, it is no longer something couples are ashamed of.”

The apparent success of the treatment, however, has lead to concerns that couples are purposely delaying having children.

Stuart added, “The subtext is that if people delay childbirth they may view IVF as an insurance policy that they can access at any stage. Unfortunately, the facts still suggest that IVF success rates in women as they get older are not fantastic.”

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield noted, “IVF really is something that should be preserved for those who really need it.”

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