n Overview of ART Statistics

When you are having problems conceiving, it can sometimes feel like you are the only one not getting pregnant. And turning to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may make you or your partner feel as if you’ve failed yourselves and each other.

However, it is important to remember that more and more women and couples are turning to ART in order to overcome their problems in getting pregnant. ART should not be seen as a failure to get pregnant naturally, but rather as evidence of the unique nature of your getting pregnant journey.

Our Assisted Reproductive Technology Overview is designed to assure you that you are not alone in your getting pregnant path using ART, and that ART can be an effective method in improving your chances of getting pregnant. It also provides you with a brief background of ART and its varying success rates in different European countries.

Getting Pregnant Using ART: Facts and Figures

One in six couples worldwide experience some form of fertility problem, leading to problems getting pregnant.

In terms of male and female fertility factors, both men and women account for 40% of infertility cases; 20% of infertility cases are due to a joint problem.

About 1.4 million babies have been born worldwide using ART since the procedure was first used some 25 years ago in Britain.

In 1999, 258,460 ART cycles were initiated in Europe, more than half (142,806) took place in just three countries: Germany carried out 60,723 cycles, France carried out 51,868 cycles, and the UK about 30,215 (figures for the UK are incomplete due to technical problems within the HFEA). Spain carried out 11,616 ART cycles.

IVF treatments with standard fertilization techniques account for the majority of ART treatments in Britain, accounting for 125,370 (56.6%) cycles out of a total of 258,460 ART cycles; ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) cycles made up 43.4% (95, 221). In addition, 34,002 frozen embryo replacement (FER) cycles were performed, as were 3,867 egg donor cycles. However, in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Greece and Belgium, ICSI is more prevalent than IVF.

Denmark has the highest availability of ART treatment, with 1,659 treatments carried out per million of the population. In Finland, there were 1,407 treatments per million; in Iceland, 1,383 per million; in France, 882 per million; in Switzerland, 586 per million. Availability of ART treatment is much lower in the US, with about 200 ART treatments per million.

Assisted reproduction accounts for 3.6% of all children born in Iceland, 2.7% of all children born in Finland, and 1.4% in France. In the eight European countries reporting this data, an average of 1.6% of all children were born with the help of ART.

Rates of multiple births vary between European countries. The overall rate of multiple births has held steady at 26.3% per embryo transfer (twins at 24%, triplets at 2.2%, quadruplets at 0.1%). The reduction seen from 1997 to 1998 (from 29.6% to 26.3%) has not continued. The US has a higher multiple birth rate of 37%.

Pregnancy Success Rates

The average pregnancy rate per embryo transfer rose from 27% to 27.7% after performing IVF and from 26.8% to 27.9% after performing ICSI between 1998 and 1999. This means that although fewer embryos are being transferred to the mother, the efficacy of IVF continues to improve yearly.

In Europe as a whole, an average of 7.8 embryos needed to be transferred to achieve one pregnancy (a pregnancy rate of 0.13 per embryo transferred). Iceland only needed to transfer an average of 5.2 embryos in order to achieve one pregnancy (a pregnancy rate of 0.19 per embryo transferred), while Hungary had to transfer an average of 13.2 embryos to achieve one pregnancy (a pregnancy rate of 0.08). Spain on the other hand had to transfer an average of 10.2 embryos in order to achieve one pregnancy (a pregnancy rate of 0.10).

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