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Quality Not Quantity – IVF Treatment in Numbers



IVF treatment has always been a subject for debate. Whether the arguments are ethical, religious, or scientific, it is a topic that has got a lot of people talking.

This is only a good thing as people begin to consider the intricacies, scientific processes, and consequences of IVF treatment. What is fascinating however is just how far the process has come since the first successful baby was conceived using In vitro fertilization back in 1978.

What has become known as ‘test-tube babies’ are nothing short of a phenomenon, but at what cost?

A recent article published in the turn of the year treated its readers to a whole host of stats and figures that dated back as far as 21 years ago when records began. It highlighted the fact that more than 1.7 million embryos’ have been thrown away, which means that 93 percent of all embryos created – more than 3.3 million in all – are never used to generate a pregnancy-related for IVF treatment; only a mere 7% ever lead to pregnancy.

Figures are a great way of quickly enticing your audience and breaking the basis of your point down into quick and easy chunks. Now no one is disputing these figures – IVF is a very intricate and complex treatment and its success can be down to a number of fluctuating variables – but surely what is more important is the impact that IVF has had on people’s lives, rather than the league tables?

Stats such as “93% of all embryos are never used to generate pregnancy” are, at first a quite discouraging figure.

It is known from scientific papers that only 5% of fresh eggs collected result in a baby.

But let us consider the advancements…

Clinical advances and the improvement of embryology as science have resulted in scientists and researchers being able to concentrate on the quality of the eggs they collect. In the beginning, it was arguably a case of collecting a large number of eggs in order to increase your chances of a successful fertilization.

These advances in the quality of egg collection and fertilization have consequently resulted in a fewer number of embryos to be transferred reducing the chance of multiple pregnancies and risks to the mother and her child. The fact is that the number of eggs that are being collected is far less than when these records started – over twenty years of advancement.

Safe and Successful Results

Add to this the fact that Mild and Natural IVF processes use little or no stimulation; scientists are able to collect fewer eggs of a higher quality. As well as reducing the risks of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which can be serious health risks to women, this reduces the chances of chromosome abnormalities in embryos (a fact that has been linked with high stimulation) which results in a higher quality of embryos and healthier babies.

The same readings also suggest that “1 in 6 out 1,388,433 embryo implantations resulted in a pregnancy”; a much more comforting and accountable figure. With an array of variables to consider, IVF treatment can never be a certainty. But with the adoption of milder, safer, and enlightened protocols in place, the wastage of embryos in the process of IVF treatment is steadily reducing creating a more ethical, safer, and successful process.