[Analysis] Is recourse to IVF being abused?

Publié le : 7 February 2014

 A group of fertility experts has published an analysis confirming that recourse to In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) has soared despite the fact that it is not always justified. The risks to the health of mother and child are quite considerable. The authors of the publication therefore wonder whether the risks associated with excessive IVF practices outweigh the benefits.

Dr. Esme Kamphuis (University of Amsterdam) and her colleagues, who are international experts in reproductive medicine, have published an analysis pleading for moderate recourse to IVF, especially in cases of unexplained subfertility. The number of IVFs has increased considerably*. This increase is mostly due to cases of masculine subfertilty, ageing ovarian function and unexplained subfertility – reasons that do not pose "a complete obstacle to conception, which can be proved"
Health risks. The benefits of IVF are not questioned in the case of women with blocked fallopian tubes and the numerous causes of masculine infertility. However, the authors emphasise key links between the increased health risks to mother and child as soon as IVF is initiated. The article also highlights the need to balance short-term considerations in terms of the immediate profitability of the money spent on IVF procedures resulting in pregnancy and the long-term health considerations for mother and child. Such risks include "multiple pregnancies – due to the implantation of several embryos, which appears to be correlated with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and adverse effects on foetal development". Conversely,” the implantation of a single embryo may lead to miscarriage and increases the risk of premature births from 50 to 70%"
In conclusion, the doctors are asking for cases of unexplained subfertility not to be treated by IVF. They are also calling for caution to be exercised in other cases "particularly when all of these problems cannot be resolved, the benefits for couples are uncertain and the chances of natural procreation are reasonable".

*Between 1978 and 2003, one million children were born following IVF. In 2005, 2 years later, a million more were born due to this procedure. By the end of 2013, it was estimated that 5 million children were born following IVF.

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