As the world marked the 40th birthday of the first IVF baby on Wednesday, the Christian Medical Fellowship regretted that doctors are adding to the sorrow and despair of infertile women, by not demystifying the myths that surround IVF.
The head of public policy at CMF, Philippa Taylor lamented that even after 4 decades, the discovery of IVF has not served its intended purpose to solve the “heartbreak of infertility”
“Though the media and the IVF industry have put a lot of emphasis on success stories and marketing, the average success rate of assisted reproductive technology treatments lags at a distant 19 percent for every cycle.”
Philippa noted that this downward trend can also be traced in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, where the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority reported an average success rate of only 26.5 percent. This rate implies that a whole 73.5 percent of IVF cycles do not materialize to birth.
She also warned that women are falling victim of falsified celebrity stories which depict them as being able to quickly conceive while in the 50s with the help of IVF.
To shed more light on the issue, she explained that the success rate of IVF rapidly diminishes once women attain the age of 35 years. According to her, even a woman under the age of 35 might find it hard to conceive since there is only a 1 in 3 chance of conceiving a baby for every transferred embryo using her partner’s sperm and her own eggs.
She further noted that the probability of a woman in her early 40s to conceive via IVF is only 1 in 10. These chances further diminish by two percentage points for women beyond 44 years of age.
Philippa further highlighted the downside of the fertility industry, referencing babies born with mental and physical health challenges, and the use of unconventional methods.
“IVF has the capacity to provide couples with that bundle of joy they are desperately looking for. As a matter of fact, it has brought into life several people and also showered real happiness to several parents. The problem is, people have the notion that it is the remedy to infertility, but it isn’t” she wrote.
However, Estimates indicate that over 7 million people have been born as a result of IVF and several other assisted reproduction treatments. with better education and keenness from doctors, these figures can rise and help more women conceive.