In Vitro Fertilization Improves

Posted by Admin on July 19, 2010
Clinical results from Down Under suggest that recent advances in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can double the chances of having a baby for women in their early 40s. And the success rate for this group is increasing faster than any other's. The successes resulted from improved media for culturing embryos and a better technique for selecting those with the best chances for developing in a healthy manner, said Peter Illingworth, president of the Fertility Society of Australia. The new procedure involved transferring embryos into recipient women at the blastocyst stage (five or six days after fertilization), rather than at the cleavage stage (two to three days after). This allowed doctors to better assess which embryos had the best survival chances.

The enhanced technique helped older women more because women in this age group produce eggs of more variable quality. It turned out that women 40-44 years of age delivered babies at a rate of 9.9 percent in 2006, an improvement from less than 5 percent in 2004. The figures were released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This success rate now provides older women, particularly those aged 40 or 41, with "a realistic chance" for having a baby, Illingworth said.

But Michael Chapman, medical director of the private clinic group IVF Australia, sounded a warning note. Older women, he said, shouldn't regard the new technique as an "insurance policy," because the figure 9.9 percent still doesn't represent good odds for motherhood. If women desire to have children, he suggested, they should seek to become pregnant at a younger age. "It still means the vast majority of [older] women will not go home with a baby," Chapman said.

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