For most couples wanting to have a baby it is a decision thought through and within one year, 85% of these will have conceived naturally. But what about those that can’t, the couples that spend years trying, the individuals that want to become single parents, or homosexual couples wanting to start a family?
“Would IVF be the answer for us…?” A question that is becoming more frequently asked between couples in the UK. With around 1 in 7 couples unable to conceive naturally, in vitro fertilisation is on the rise in the UK. With many reasons for infertility ranging from low sperm count in men to endometriosis in women, scientists are finding new ways in which pregnancy can become possible where previously not.
The Beginnings of IVF
IVF has come on leaps and bounds since it was first introduced. Although having a baby through IVF does not come easily to all. Latest figures from 2009 show a 25.2% success rate (as measured by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, HFEA) of a woman giving birth to a live baby through use of her own eggs. This is a figure that has remained steady in the last couple of years, with the number of multiple births on the decrease- great news for potential parents.
IVF has always been a controversial subject ever since the first ‘test tube baby’ was born in 1978, with those believing that this artificial procreation method is wrong, for reasons including religious and ethical grounds. Playing God is a major issue for many people, and if IVF is allowed, where will it end? The recent controversial 3 parent IVF technique, where with this leave the 3 parents on ethical and legal grounds? So many questions with so many people having varying opinions.
Research and the method of IVF techniques are strictly regulated by many laws that have been in place from the 1980s when IVF was first introduced starting with the development of the Warnock Committee Inquiry, followed by many more including the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990, which was amended in 2008. These legislations are not the only ones present, with many other Bills and Acts in place to ensure the correct usage and storage of eggs, sperm and embryos.
The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA)
The HFEA is in place to ensure these regulations are adhered but also has advisory and monitoring roles as well as supplying information, making it easily accessible to all sectors, including patients, clinic staff, donors, as well as those conceived through donors. The guidance and advice provided is an invaluable source of information for all alike.
With lots of legal aspects to think about, it must not be forgotten the true nature of IVF, to help infertile couples to conceive a baby. There are several methods that can help achieve this and this blog will go through the steps from the IVF techniques and processes, the causes of infertility and other relevant areas of interest to do with IVF. I hope you find this blog interesting, and I hope I enjoy writing it! IVF has always been an area of my interest and is an ever growing area of science with very relevant topics that one day may affect my, or your life.