This week at the 69th annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) it was announced that 5 million babies have been born through assisted reproduction techniques (ART). This data was provide by more than 50 fertility organizations around the world.
The most remarkable issue is that that half of them have been born in the last 6 years. By 1990, about 90,000 babies were born worldwide due to ART. However, by 2000, that number climbed to 900,000 children. Just seven years later in 2007, more than 2.5 million children were conceived due to these techniques.
ART includes fertility treatments like certain medications to trigger development of follicles in the ovaries, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg donation.
Scientists have been looking at new techniques to ensure healthier children. One controversial method, known as “three-parent IVF,” allows doctors to implant the mitochondria of the mother into an empty donor egg and then fertilize it with sperm from the father. Another U.K. child was recently the first to be born using an IVF technique called next generation sequencing, which allowed doctors to screen potential embryos for diseases and other problems. The information showed the potential the embryos had for inheriting genetic disorders, chromosome abnormalities and mitochondrial disease, mutations within a cell’s nucleus that could lead to conditions including heart disease, motor disorders, diabetes, respiratory problems, seizures, and vision and hearing problems. Other new methods being researched include in vitro activation (IVA), which stimulates a woman’s ovaries to create mature eggs, and endometrial scratching, which intentionally damages the inner tissue lining the uterus known as the endometrium so it is easier for embryos to attach to the uterine wall.