Australia’s first IVF baby turns 35 this year, which is incredible when you think back to how far science has come.
Now more and more women are turning to In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) than ever before, especially those above the age of 35 and are at risk of missing their “fertility window”.
What is IVF?
The concept of IVF is pretty simple really, but the process of fertilising the egg and sperm in a laboratory is a little trickier.nTo put it simply, It involves placing the eggs from the female together with tens of thousands of sperm.
Fertilisation takes place over the next few hours; the fertilised embryos are then set aside to grow for several days before the best embryo is transferred back into the woman’s uterus in the hope that a successful pregnancy will follow.
If the sperm quality is not up to scratch, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used to insert one sperm into each egg.
Approximately 20 per cent of couples experience fertility difficulties. That’s one in six Australian couples, which is defined as taking longer than 12 months to conceive if you’re aged younger than 35, and six months if you’re older than 35.
Australian fertility clinics have the highest success rates in IVF in the world. However, an individual couple’s chance of success depends on a number of factors such as the cause of infertility, age and lifestyle. As a general guide, there is a 50 per cent chance of conception per IVF treatment if aged under 30. This goes down to a 20 percent chance for your first IVF treatment over the age of 40.
In 2011, there were 34,490 women undertaking IVF in Australia and New Zealand where they used their own eggs or embryos (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013).
In 2010 it has been estimted that 4.1 per cent of all women who gave birth in Australia and New Zealand received some form of assisted reproductive treatment.
Studies by the University of NSW reveal that on average, every round of IVF costs about $8000 upfront, though around $4000 is returned through Medicare. Costs can increase by hundreds if a patient has medical issues and needs extra treatment.