How IVF Has Changed Over the Years
In vitro fertilization, more commonly known as IVF, has come a long way since Louise Brown, the first child born via IVF, was born in 1978. What now makes up a growing percentage of annual births was once a project cloaked in secrecy. According to a report published by the BBC, more than five million people can now thank IVF technologies for their births.
In the early pioneering days of IVF, the founders of the science, gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Robert Edwards, admitted to attempting hundreds of embryo transfers before finally having one that took. When that first embryo did stick, Brown’s mother was told that the odds of it being totally successful were, “One in a million.”
But that embryo did stick, and a range of public opinions popped up as a result. The science and interest was so new that the Brown family had to consent to the government to allow the birth to be filmed, as a matter of evidence that the baby, created outside of the body, was actually birthed from the mother nine months later. On that day, the child underwent roughly 60 medical tests before her mother was even allowed to hold her.
Over the next decade, scientists learned how to freeze eggs and embryos, thus reducing the need for invasive egg retrieval procedures. Further advancements to this part of the IVF procedure would allow doctors to remove eggs under light sedation through ultrasound imaging as opposed to keyhole laparoscopy surgery.
Today’s science allows for a much higher success rate than in the early days of IVF, often boasting a pregnancy result in just a few attempts, with a success rate that rivals natural conception. Today, children of IVF are often looked at with little scrutiny and are rarely identifiable as being the result of medical intervention in the conception.
Researchers continue to study the science which impacts implantation and uterine lining, maintaining hope that further advancements in the field will continue to improve the odds of IVF process over the course of the next several years.