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Infertility treatments wane during recession

May 28, 2009 | 10:39 am

IVFphotoThe turn of the century saw a huge burst of babies, worldwide, conceived with assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, according to a new study. But, in the United States, infertility treatments are down due to the recession, according to some reports.

A study published today in the journal Human Reproduction found that assisted reproductive technologies, or ART, increased 25% worldwide between 2000 and 2002. An estimated 219,000 to 246,000 babies are born each year worldwide from ART procedures. The study also found a large increase in the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a procedure where a sperm is injected into an egg in the lab to create an embryo, in all countries, ranging from 61% of IVF procedures in the United States to 92% in the Middle East.

The authors of the report, from the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology, noted that access to IVF varies widely among nations and that low-cost procedures should be more available to couples in poor countries.

Cost issues, however, are not limited to poor nations. A recent story in the New York Post found that a number of infertility clinics in the United States are experiencing a decline in patients and some may be struggling to stay afloat. ART procedures were expected to decline this decade as the last of the baby boomers exit their reproductive years, according to a blog post from the Center for Human Reproduction, a New York City clinic. The loss of jobs, and health insurance, has further reduced patients seeking IVF. And, the blog notes, in a recession, fewer families consider having a baby.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Ken Hively  /  Los Angeles Times

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