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More Assisted Reproduction, But Fewer Multiple Births
Date:5/28/2009

Technology use growing worldwide, but not as many embryos being transferred, research shows

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Each year, 219,000 to 246,000 babies conceived through assisted reproductive technology (ART) are born worldwide, says an international study that also found that the number of ART procedures increased by more than 25 percent between 2000 and 2002.

Researchers analyzed 2002 data from 1,563 clinics in 53 countries but noted data were missing from a number of countries, mostly in Asia, Africa, Oceania and the West Indies.

"There are several important points to highlight," said Professor Jacques de Mouzon, a public health specialist at INSERM in Paris who led the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology that wrote the study.

"There has been a constant increase in ART activity: it increased by more than 25 percent in the two years since the previous report for the year 2000. This is due not only to an increase in the number of countries participating in this report but also to an increase in ART activity in most individual countries," de Mouzon said in a news release.

"However, there are wide variations between countries in the availability and quality of ART. There are several reasons for this, such as fertility rates, women's age, insurance cover, the national economy, but the most important is certainly inequality in access to health care and ART. In Western Europe it is easier for people to access good health care, and funding for ART tends to be more generous than in developing countries," de Mouzon said.

Among the other findings:

  • Between 2000 and 2002, the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) -- as opposed to conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) -- increased up to 61 percent in North America, 54 percent in Europe, 76 percent in Latin America and over 92 percent in the Middle East.
  • Even with a de
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