Unprecedented increase in IVF success rate, but multiple births drop to record high

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“No matter how we slice the data, there are improvements across all age groups,” said lead author of the report, Professor Georgina Chambers, noting that the biggest jump has been in rates of live births for frozen embryo transfers: from 20% in 2010 to 30% in 2019.

“The improvement in success rates for each cycle of IVF started was even more important for women over 35,” she said.

Success rates for fresh embryo transfers have increased from 24% to 25%.

“In the past we would have favored fresh embryos, but now that doesn’t make any difference. There is virtually no loss of quality and with genetic testing it gives women the confidence to recreate an embryo, ”said Professor Rombauts.

The odds of having twins and triplets born through IVF have seen the largest decline, from 8.2% in 2010 to 2.9% in 2019. Two decades ago, one in five IVF births was twins or triplets.

“We have the best twin rate in the world,” said Professor Chambers. “It’s especially pleasurable because being born a twin or a triplet is the greatest risk for IVF, with twins four to six times more likely to develop cerebral palsy.”

Australia has the second highest IVF use rate in the world, largely thanks to “reasonably favorable government funding so that women are not so forced to deliver multiple embryos,” said Prof Rombauts . Single embryo transfers now represent 92% of cycles.

For women aged 40 to 44, the chances of having a live birth double if the woman uses donor eggs, the report said, from 15% to 30% for each embryo transfer. But for women over 45, the birth rate drops from 5% to 25% if they use donated eggs.

There were around 900 IVF cycles started by women over 45 in 2019. Accessing donor eggs in Australia is difficult and must be altruistic, meaning a woman cannot be paid for it. donate her eggs.

Shameela Karunakaran and Julian Rayappu had their three children thanks to science.Credit:Janie Barrett

Data from Genea fertility clinics shows that there has been a 169% increase from 2016 to 2021 for single women with access to fertility treatment.

Success rate

The findings come as IVF clinics across the country continue to report large differences in their success rates, with one clinic reporting a live birth rate of about 6% of cycles initiated, compared to 31% at another clinic.

The lack of transparency in clinic success rates prompted the launch this year of the “Your IVF Success” website, which uses data from 600,000 IVF cycles in Australia to allow expectant parents to compare clinics.

Shameela Karunakaran, 40, had her three children from an egg-retrieval IVF cycle where five embryos were frozen.

“I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis in 2014, at the age of 33, and after major surgery, I discovered that it would be difficult for me to have a baby unless I had a IVF, ”she said.

“We were lucky that an IVF cycle worked, so we have our whole family from these embryos,” said Ms Karunakaran, who underwent treatment at an IVF Genea clinic in Sydney.

“It was not easy, the road was long and very stony with all these obstacles along the way. The doctors thought the implantation was going to be more difficult for me because of the endometriosis and the buildup of scar tissue.

Ms Karunakaran had her daughter from the first frozen embryo transfer over five years ago, followed by two more transfers and the birth of two sons.

“We had an implantation that didn’t work, so we still have an embryo left, so the challenge now is what to do with that embryo.

“We could donate it or have another baby. We haven’t decided yet.

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