Friday, November 02, 2012

Test Tube Babies

How many of the nation's newborns would not be here without, as the CDC calls it, assisted reproductive technology? The answer is 1.4 percent. As a result of the 146,244 assisted reproductive technology procedures performed in 2009 (the latest data available), 60,190 babies were born--or just over 1 percent of births. Assisted reproductive technology is defined by the CDC to include only fertility treatments in which both egg and sperm are handled in a laboratory. It does not include artificial insemination or drug-induced egg production unless the drug treatment is for egg retrieval.

Multiple births are a common outcome of assisted reproductive technology. That's because most parents choose to transfer more than one embryo during these procedures, according to the CDC--primarily because of cost. In 2009, almost half (47 percent) of babies born through assisted reproductive technology were multiple births compared with only 3 percent of all births.

The introduction of assisted reproductive technology explains why 1 in every 30 babies born in the United States in 2009 was a twin, up from 1 in every 53 babies in 1980. Overall, 19 percent of twin births and 34 percent of triplet births are the result of assisted reproductive technology.

Source: CDC, Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance—United States, 2009

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