The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology represents the greater majority of in vitro fertilization clinics in the United States. Their report showed that doctors at these clinics performed 165,172 procedures, including IVF, with 61,740 babies born as a result of those efforts in 2012. In 2012 in the USA, more than 3.95 million babies were born. IVF treatments account for about 1.5% of all babies born in the United States in 2012.
IVF has cost about $15000 per treatment in the USA. In other countries, the cost can be 5 to ten time less. In 2013,Belgian researchers tested a shoebox-sized IVF laboratory built from cheap glass tubes that uses baking soda and citric acid to create the carbon dioxide needed for fertilization to occur. Pregnancy rates matched those from a standard laboratory and set-up costs are 85-90% lower. With fewer tests and less monitoring, running costs are slashed, too. Though of no use when the man’s sperm is sub-par and thus needs to be injected into the egg under a pricey microscope, it should be sufficient for about 70% of infertile couples, says Willem Ombelet of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, who led the first trial.
The Low-Cost IVF Foundation, a non-profit based in Switzerland, is working with Zambia’s health ministry to set up an IVF programme later this year. Costs will be shaved wherever possible, with the biggest saving coming from using clomiphene citrate, an oral drug that provides a modest boost to ovulation and costs just $12 per IVF attempt, instead of the standard injectable drugs, which cost thousands.
The number of babies born as a result of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) reached an estimated total of 5 million in 2012. ICMART (International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies) data for 2011 indicated that around 1.5 million ART cycles are now performed globally each year, producing around 350,000 babies. This number continues to rise. The two most active countries of the world are the USA and Japan, but the most active region by far is Europe.
Globally one in six couples face infertility issues. IVF is one of the popular treatments that has benefitted childless couples, single mothers, and LGBT community. It involves specific and complicated procedures with mixed proportion of both success and failure. According to CDC, 1.5 million to 2 million cycles of IVF is performed worldwide every year, and about 55 percent of the reported cycles are carried out in Europe. The Global IVF Devices market is growing at high pace, promising high return on investment. The Global IVF Devices Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.80 percent during the 2014-2019 forecast period.
While other ART procedures offer success rates of about 33 percent for patients below 35 years, the average rate of success for IVF is about 40 percent. The increase in technological innovation in assisted reproduction enables couples to select embryos of their choice and have an offspring with the closest genetic resemblance to them.
IVF success rate could about double to 60%
Preimplantation genetic screening removes cells from the embryo on day five to see if the normal amount of genetic material is present. An embryo should have 23 pairs of chromosomes; those with extra chromosomes or missing chromosomes are considered less viable.
“Chromosome abnormality is the main cause of miscarriage,” says Richard Scott, clinical and scientific director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, a fertility clinic and the reproductive endocrinology and infertility division of Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Time-lapse imaging, which costs about $1,500, is a less invasive method of evaluating embryos. It’s already used in clinics around the world, but new types of time-lapse screening are just becoming available commercially.
With time-lapse imaging, thousands of pictures are taken to record a fertilized egg cell dividing. Eggs dividing atypically are unlikely to survive.
Three markers determine if a four-cell embryo (on day two) is likely to reach blastocyst, a critical stage where it has divided into about 120 cells (on day five) and has a better chance of implanting in the uterus. A study created an algorithm to do the analysis automatically.
A new screening method to detect healthy embryos could raise the success of IVF to 60% or more, according to a Peking University and Harvard University team.
Approaches often involve removing cells from the growing embryo, and may not pick up all genetic problems.
The new method, studied in 70 fertilised eggs from volunteer egg donors, was based on removing left-over fragments of cells, known as polar bodies, from the early developing embryo and analysing their full genetic code.
Lead researcher, Jie Qiao of Third Hospital, Peking University, said: “Theoretically, if this works perfectly, we will be able to double the success rate of test tube baby technology from 30% to 60% or even more.”
IVF treatment costs lower than Child Policy Fines in China
It appears China’s one-child policy has been bypassed by wealthy parents, with a growing number of them using the IVF technology to beat the system.
The country’s strict policy means parents receive heavy fines if they have more than child.
That policy is relaxed for twins, however parents must still pay an annual fine called social maintenance.
Reproductive assisted technology is becoming increasingly popular among the rich and many actively try for twins or triplets.
In 2013, an infertile couple from Guangzhou had eight children over a two month period after spending 1,000,000 RMB (£100,000) on IVF treatment using two surrogate mothers.
Current Estimate of the IVF market in China is about 4.8 million couples
The estimate of 4.8 million is based on 90 million Chinese men and women with fertility problems who have the ability to pay the USD 80 thousand to USD 120 thousand cost the typical surrogacy program in the United States, and not many more can afford to pay the n times USD 12.5 thousand per IVF cycle average cost charged by the typical US-based fertility clinic.
If the cost of IVF drops to $300 per treatment, the success rate goes up to 60% and the income levels increase then over the next ten years the IVF amounts in China and around the world should rapidly increase.
SOURcES – Daily Star, Health intel Asia, NY Times, CNN
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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