Advances in Fertility Treatment Produce More Babies

Women able to reproduce at natural birth rate thanks to fertility treatments

(RxWiki News) Many women today face reproductive and fertility issues that keep them from getting pregnant "the natural way". Modern fertility treatments are allowing these women the chance to reproduce at a more natural birth rate.

A new study led by Michigan State University has shown women with fertility issues can achieve a birth rate in line with women who do not have fertility issues if they use assisted reproductive technology. 

"Talk to your doctor about fertility options."

The research team was led by Barbara Luke, ScD, a researcher in the College of Human Medicine's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

The data came from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology's Clinic Outcome Reporting system for the years 2004 through 2009. This data is pulled from 90 percent of all the clinics in the United States that use and support assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments.

Of the 246,740 women studied, 57 percent of them were able to achieve a live birth through ART treatment, and overall 30 percent of all the ART cycles observed resulted in a live birth. The success rates were affected by increasing age — especially for those women age thirty-eight and older — unless the women were using donor eggs.

The estimated natural fertility rate of the general population is about 20 percent per month. The estimated rates associated with conceiving spontaneously are 45 percent after three months, 65 percent after six months, and 85 percent after twelve months.

The two most important factors that were found to influence the success of ART were favorable patient characteristics such as age and good embryo quality. Continual treatment and a switch to donor eggs were the two factors found to help the live birth rates of women.

Dr. Luke said, "Women and families want to know the overall chances they will get pregnant, not necessarily whether they will get pregnant during a specific cycle." The ART treatments have more than doubled over the last ten years so there is much data to use to find this overall estimation.

The results of this study could have many positive effects. First, the findings could help guide regulations that govern health insurance coverage for infertility treatment. Second, the findings show that success rates for women using their own eggs continue to rise beyond two or three cycles. And finally, this study may be able to aid providers and women when they are deciding whether or not to change to donor eggs.

The average cost of a cycle of ART is approximately $12,400. This study was published in the June edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Review Date: 
November 18, 2012