The first in vitro fertilization (IVF) baby was born in 1978 in Britain. Just three years later, the first IVF baby would be born in the United States. Since then, IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies have allowed hundreds of thousands of families to conceive a child they may have otherwise not had. Over the past 20 years, IVF has become an increasingly more popular process. The number of babies born doubled between 1998 and 2012, from just under 30,000 to over 60,000. This rate is only likely to increase over the next decade.
Women and Men Are Deciding to Have Children at Older Ages
A significant factor in IVF popularity is that women and couples are deciding to wait to have children. Many couples are choosing to become more financially sound before deciding to have a child. Additionally, more women are choosing to pursue higher education and career goals before having children. We are seeing more women waiting until their mid to late 30s before they consider children. The downfall of this is that infertility increases with age, and after 35 it can be harder to conceive naturally. For these couples, IVF treatments are the best course to build their own families.
Improved Technology Makes IVF More Available
When IVF was first introduced, it was an expensive procedure that was not covered by insurance. Only couples with the financial means were able to use IVF to have a child. However, as technology has become more advanced and the IVF process has become less expensive, more couples are able to choose this path.
IVF Is Less Secretive
Conceiving a child through IVF used to be a more secretive process. People didn’t share with their friends, and even the child itself, that IVF was used for conception. Many other people in the United States and around the world weren’t aware that there were technologies available to help them get pregnant. However, as more information about IVF is spread, and the shroud of secrecy is lifted, more and more people realize that IVF may be the best avenue for creating their family.
The Future of IVF
There has been a recent push, especially among working women, to plan ahead. While you may not be ready for a child in your 20s, that doesn’t mean you won’t be in your 30s. However, older eggs have a lower success rate with IVF. In order to have a baby which is genetically theirs, many women are opting to freeze their eggs for future use. Because of this, in 10 to 15 years we are likely to see another spike in IVF as women become ready to be moms.