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IVF Study: Less Than 8 Percent of Embryos Survive the Process

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist A new report by fertility experts has found that less than eight percent of all embryos produced in IVF labs result in a live birth. Reuters is reporting that a team of researchers at the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland has found that only 7.5 percent of all efforts to unite egg and sperm in a petri dish result in a viable embryo. "It should surprise no one that the vast majority of sperm and eggs never get together to even begin the fertilization process," Dr. Robert Rebar, executive director of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), said in a statement. "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." Shady Grove researchers, led by Michael John Tucker, reviewed all the in vitro fertilization or IVF cycles at their center between 2004 and 2008 and found that out of 110,000 egg cells fertilized with sperm, only 31,437 resulted in viable embryos. Of these embryos, only one or two are implanted at a time, with the others being frozen for future use. "Using the most optimistic set of assumptions that all the frozen embryos will eventually be used, this will result in 8,366 babies. Thus, only 7.5 percent of all the fertilized eggs will go on to become live-born children," the report says. However, in reality, most frozen embryos will never be implanted in a mother's womb, with the majority used in research or simply abandoned. Of those that are used for a future pregnancy, little more than 50 percent survive the thaw process. The Church brought these statistics to the world's attention earlier this month when British physiologist and IVF pioneer, Dr. Robert Edwards, was awarded a Nobel Prize. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the award 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.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®