By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

DENVER, Colorado, October 26, 2010 ( – A report by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) on a study of IVF “efficiency” states that just 7.5 percent of all artificially fertilized embryos will go on to become live-born children.

“It should surprise no one that the vast majority of sperm and eggs never get together to even begin the fertilization process,” said Dr. Robert W. Rebar, Executive Director of the ASRM, in a press release. “But, it is very important to understand that even once joined together for fertilization, an overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs do not become viable embryos, and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child. While this data come the IVF lab, natural conception is also very inefficient.”

The study was conducted at the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland in order to “quantify the fate of the eggs retrieved in the IVF process,” and will be presented at the annual ASRM conference in Denver this week.

Researchers reviewed all the in vitro fertilization cycles conducted at Shady Grove between 2004 and 2008. In 14,324 IVF cycles, clinicians retrieved 192,991 eggs. Initially, 110,939 of the eggs were successfully fertilized. However, only 44,282 continued to develop into “viable embryos.”

Usual IVF practice is to implant just one or two living embryos into the womb per IVF cycle, with the others being frozen.

“Using the most optimistic set of assumptions that all the frozen embryos will eventually be used,” the ASRM report says, “this will result in 8,366 babies. Thus, only 7.5% of all the fertilized eggs will go on to become live-born children.”

In reality the frozen human embryos are more likely to be used in research or abandoned, rather than be allowed to continue growing in their mother’s womb.

When British physiologist Dr. Robert Edwards, a pioneer of in vitro fertilization whose work led to the birth of Louise Brown, the “first” IVF baby in 1978, was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine earlier this month, Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the recently appointed head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, pointed out that the award ignores the moral and ethical questions raised by artificial methods of reproduction, and disregards the destruction of countless human beings.

Without Edwards’ work, de Paula said, there would be no market for selling ova, or “freezers full of embryos waiting to be transferred to a uterus, or more likely, to be used for investigation or to die forgotten and abandoned by everyone.”

“In the best of cases they are transferred into a uterus but most probably they will end up abandoned or dead, which is a problem for which the new Nobel prize winner is responsible.”

An aspect of IVF not mentioned in the ASRM report is the necessity of “selective reduction,” or the abortion of one or more of the children growing in the womb in cases where two or more embryos are implanted.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of twins has jumped 65 percent in the past two decades. A record 138,961 twin births – 32.2 per 1,000 live births – were recorded in 2007, according to the CDC’s statistics. In addition, there were 5,968 triplet births, 369 quadruplets and 91 quintuplets or higher.

However, most multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF are “selectively reduced” by abortion.

David Picella, a Family Nurse Practitioner with specialty training as a medical consultant and teacher of the Creighton Model Fertility Care system, wrote in an article titled “10 Reasons to Choose NaProTechnology Over InVitro Fertilization” that “One of the most objectionable things about IVF is that it can result in a situation where a woman is forced to deal with a dangerously high multiple pregnancy rate.

“Pregnancy risk increases dramatically with the number of babies in the womb. Frequently, women are compelled to selectively ‘reduce’ (i.e., kill) additional babies in the womb due to unacceptably high pregnancy risk.”

The complete article by David Picella is available through the Human Life International website here.

Contact info for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine
1209 Montgomery Highway
Birmingham, Alabama 35216-2809
Telephone: (205) 978-5000
Fax: (205) 978-5005
Email: [email protected]

See related LSN articles:

Vatican Official Criticizes Nobel Prize for IVF Pioneer

Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive

Study Finds Common Infertility Treatments Are Unlikely To Improve Fertility