How is Fertility Changing as Technology Advances?

A growing number of women in the US are waiting longer to have children than their mothers did. While most American women still have babies before the age of 35, birth rates for women over 35 have increased considerably over the last two decades.

Often, women delay having children because they want to be both economically and personally ready. However, choosing to have children later in life is not always a personal preference. For women who do not want to raise a child on their own, there is also the question of finding a partner too.

With both the incentive and means to wait to have children, more and more women are choosing to put this off. However, fertility begins to decrease as we get older. Thankfully, the good news is that new treatments are becoming available that help women overcome fertility issues. Keep reading below to find out more:

Fertility Treatments in the Past

Fertility treatments have come a long way in the past 20 years. In fact, if we look back in history, fertility treatment was not even discussed until the 1970s. One of the earliest revolutions was in the late 1970s. Scientists and doctors discovered that regular menstrual cycles were a helpful indicator of ovulation. This led to the production and development of a medication called Clomid, which stimulates ovulation.

The next breakthrough came in 1978 when two British doctors achieved the first birth from IVF. Since then, we have seen several new treatments becoming available for men and women who are suffering from fertility issues.

Fertility Treatments Today

As we mentioned above, more than three decades ago, researchers successfully managed to combine egg and sperm in a lab dish to produce the first child born from IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Although this type of technique was seen as groundbreaking at the time, it has since become commonplace and has now been used to conceive over 5 million babies around the world.

Since the introduction of IVF treatment, we have seen several other treatments become available to women who are wanting to get pregnant. One example is egg freezing. The idea is that women harvest and preserve their eggs when they are younger to use when they are older.

Another example is IUI Therapy (Intrauterine Insemination Cycles with Ovarian Stimulations). IUI is one of the most straightforward assisted fertility treatments available. During IUI Therapy sperm is prepared in a lab and then placed directly into the woman’s uterus, increasing the chances of the sperm reaching the egg.

For many couples who pursue IUI or IVF treatment, a common ritual involves visiting hospitals for monitoring during treatment cycles. The goal of these appointments is to make the right adjustments to the treatment being offered and to determine the best time for egg retrieval and ovulation by monitoring estrogen and follicle size. It is important to measure the follicle size as this can help to achieve the best results. However, to prevent multiple gestations from occurring, only one or two follicles need to mature.  You can find out more about the follicle size for IUI at MCRM Fertility.  

There are lots of other amazing fertility treatments available, including re-energizing aging cells, creating three-parent embryos, and freezing parts of the ovary. Over the next few years, we expect to see even more fertility treatments becoming available to women around the world. We are tantalizingly close to a new era in childbirth.

What Will Happen as Technology Advances?

As technology continues to advance, many experts believe that fertility treatments will become cheaper, better, and more accessible to patients. Not only will these treatments be used by infertile couples, but they may also be used by women who want to expand their fertile years, or by couples who want to avoid passing on severe medical conditions to their children.

However, many of these treatments raise ethical issues, including the idea that parents can choose certain attractive characteristics in their children. Guidelines need to be put in place today to prevent ethical problems from occurring in the future.

For many years now, medicine has allowed women to have children far later in life than their ancestors. While infertility still occurs, technology has made pregnancy possible for most women. Thanks to this, infertility is no longer seen as a tragedy because today, almost all women have at least some hope of falling pregnant. Over the next few years, we expect to see even more treatments and technological advancements become available for women who are having fertility issues. This is great news for all women who want to have the chance to have a baby.

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