Kirsten Andersen

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Test-tube baby birthrate reached an all-time high in 2012: report

Kirsten Andersen

BIRMINGHAM, AL, February 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to a new report by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, about 1.7 percent of all babies born in the U.S. in 2012 were conceived in laboratories. 

However, the overwhelming majority of babies conceived that way did not make it to birth.

A record-breaking total of 61,470 test-tube babies were successfully born in 2012, out of 165,172 who were conceived and placed inside a womb.  Those numbers do not include embryos who were created and frozen for future use, died during the thawing process, or were destroyed for eugenic reasons.  About 99 percent of the successfully born infants were implanted via in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Less than one percent were implanted using the gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) or zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) methods.    

Of those test-tube babies whom doctors attempted to implant, only 37 percent survived.  Babies implanted into young mothers had higher rates of survival than those implanted into older women, but even they died more than half the time. 

Women under the age of 35 gave birth to a live baby only 40.7 percent of the time after undergoing IVF or another procedure.  For women between 35 and 37, that number dropped to 31.3 percent.  For women between 38 and 40, the success rate was 22.2 percent, and for women between 41 and 42, it was 11.8 percent. Only 3.9 percent of embryos implanted in women 43 or older survived and were born.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has been celebrated as a way for infertile couples to avoid adoption and give birth to a baby of their own.  But many pro-life ethicists have decried the staggering imbalance between the relatively few babies born this way and the thousands – perhaps even millions – of babies destroyed by the process.

Karen Hemingway, executive director of FertilityCare, a Toronto clinic that specializes in ethical, natural alternatives to IVF and other procedures, told LifeSiteNews that parents considering ART need to think about the costs – not just financially, but in terms of lives lost. 

“I can certainly understand the excitement of a couple who uses IVF to achieve pregnancy, because that child is still a gift and still a blessing,” Hemingway said.  “But do the ends justify the means?  Is the cost worth it?”

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“I think it’s easy for someone who’s holding a new baby to try to forget what the cost is, and that is that this life was created, but more lives were destroyed,” said Hemingway.  “And I think that is a sad reality that people try to ignore.”

Hemingway told LifeSiteNews that according to the latest statistics she’s read, for every successful ART birth, seven babies are destroyed.

“That has to be in the back of the mind of people who are having those children,” she said.  “I think that’s very worrisome.”

Hemingway’s clinic uses NaProTechnology, which seeks to treat the underlying cause of the fertility problem instead of getting around it with technology.  While in IVF, doctors artificially implant lab-created embryos into wombs that may not be healthy or safe for a baby, NaPro babies are conceived naturally using a combination of meticulous charting of a woman’s fertility signs, carefully timed intercourse, and medical treatments that make a woman’s body more welcoming for new life.  As a result, she says, babies conceived using NaPro are much safer from conception to birth than babies conceived in laboratory settings. 

“With NaProTechnology, babies are created during a natural marital act of intercourse,” Hemingway explained.  “Life is not destroyed along the way.” 

“NaPro Technology takes a restorative approach to fertility and women’s health in that it treats the underlying causes of infertility or recurring miscarriage,” added Hemingway.  “So patients are likely to have healthier pregnancies and healthier babies.  The outcomes are better.”

To learn more about NaPro Technology for infertility and other reproductive illness, click here.

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