Is IVF Becoming More Common? The Numbers by Country & Age


Microscopic view of needle penetrating egg for IVF

Obviously, IVF has become more common since the first ‘test tube’ baby was born in 1978, and since it became a more widely available fertility treatment in the 90s, but I wanted to know whether IVF is continuing to become more common even today. Here’s what I found out.

Graph Showing the Number of ART Cycles & Babies Born in the World by Year

IVF is becoming more common even today as you can see from the graph above. The lowest estimated number of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles in the world was 1,052,363 in 2005, 1,643,456 in 2010, and 3,353,463 in 2016. The lowest estimated number of ART babies born in the world was 256,415 in 2005, 404,364 in 2010 and 618,451 in 2016.

Lowest Estimated Number of ART Cycles & Babies Born in the World by Year
ART CyclesBabies Born
2003932,415232,980
20051,052,363256,415
20101,643,456404,364
20112,000,000500,000
20132,100,000476,000
20142,300,000510,000
20152,500,000661,000
20163,353,463618,451

These numbers come from the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART) which can be found here.

I then decided to look at whether this varies by country and age, and as the rest of this article will show IVF is becoming more common in the USA, the UK, Australia & New Zealand (their numbers are reported together), Canada, Japan & Russia. IVF is also becoming more common for women of all ages.

First of All: 2 Disclaimers

Before we look at the numbers in more detail, I want to make some disclaimers.

First, I’m not a scientist, and this is not a scientific study done under whatever the appropriate conditions for such a thing are. I’m just a woman who went in search of the numbers using what she hopes is some sound common sense because she found IVF becoming more common in her life and was wondering whether it was the same for others.

Secondly, I decided that a good way to tell whether IVF is becoming more common is by the number of ART cycles (the vast majority of which are IVF) and the number of babies born using ART. This may not be the best way to tell whether IVF is becoming more common, but it makes sense to me – see previous disclaimer.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in the USA

Graph Showing the Number of ART Cycles & Live Born Infants in the USA by Year

As you can see, the pattern of this graph is very similar to the pattern for the world graph.

The number of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles in the USA was 134,260 in 2005, 147,260 in 2010, 231,936 in 2015 and 306,197 in 2018. The number of ART babies born in the USA was 52,041 in 2005, 61,564 in 2010, 72,913 in 2015 and 81,478 in 2018. So IVF is becoming more common in the USA.

And this is not just in one or two age groups. IVF is becoming more common in the USA for women of all ages at about the same rate, as can be seen in the table below:

Number of ART Cycles in the USA by Year & Age
<3535–3738–4041–42>42
200553,56729,62725,40112,95112,714
201057,29929,82629,93615,01515,184
201588,36848,70744,99623,19426,673
2016100,95056,66950,34325,30330,311
2017106,96663,36955,20326,78832,059
2018113,84569,61460,03828,83633,864
Number of ART Live Births in the USA by Year & Age (with own eggs) excluding multiples
<3535–3738–4041–42>42
200720,2168,7805,1881,332326
201022,1748,9676,1351,597413
201122,3909,1906,0991,761492
201223,9869,8486,3591,907545
201325,00010,4346,5651,975689
201426,21111,3687,0131,995709
201528,01212,0127,5792,238810
201629,86013,6478,5602,6101,108

Although the age group that has the largest number of ART cycles and live births are women under 35, a relatively similar increase in ART cycles and live births is occurring in most age groups.

All these numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) which can be found here.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in the UK

Graph Showing the Number of IVF Cycles & Live Births in the UK by Year

This graph actually shows a decrease in IVF cycles and live births in the UK from 2017 to 2018, but as you can see, unless this trend (yes, a very sciencey word so maybe I’m a scientist after all) continues for the next few years (we’re still waiting for those numbers – it takes a few years before they’re ready) overall IVF is becoming more common in the UK.

The number of IVF cycles in the UK was 41,998 in 2005, 58,021 in 2010, 65,348 in 2015 and 69,573 in 2017. The number of IVF live births in the UK was 11,422 in 2005, 17,080 in 2010, 20,765 in 2015 and 21,990 in 2017.

This pattern of a slight decrease from 2017 to 2018 but overall increase since 2005 occurred for most age ranges, as can be seen in the table below:

Number of IVF Cycles in the UK by Year & Age
<3535 – 3738 – 3940 – 4243 – 44>44
200517,34710,0185,8294,9121,041327
201023,47313,0189,0757,3351,672517
201526,89414,0538,6138,0582,087677
201627,38915,0539,0918,2472,163734
201727,53915,4259,4298,5902,235745
201826,17514,6209,4608,4182,164693
Number of IVF Live Birth Occurrences in the UK by Year & Age (patient eggs)
<3535 – 3738 – 3940 – 4243 – 44>44
20054,7922,2499835012912
20107,0613,4431,8351,0059719
20159,3454,1101,9121,22914422
20169,3524,4302,0781,25014931
20179,4914,7142,2051,40315127
20188,6624,0572,1351,26213128

Once again, it wasn’t a matter of IVF cycles and live birth occurrences increasing in one or two age groups only. IVF is clearly becoming more common in the UK across all age groups.

One thing I did notice is that for IVF cycles the increase was greater for women aged 38 and over (approximately doubling since 2005) whereas for women under 38 it only increased by about half in the same time frame.

This could mean that IVF is becoming even more common for women aged 38 and over but because live birth occurrences approximately doubled for women of all ages, (except for women aged 43 – 44 where they increased more than four times) I think the more likely explanation is simply that younger women need less cycles to become pregnant.

All the above numbers come from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) which can be found here.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in Australia & New Zealand

Graph Showing the Number of IVF Cycles & Liveborn Babies in Australia & New Zealand by Year

IVF is also becoming more common in Australia & New Zealand as this graph shows, with both the number of IVF cycles and liveborn babies increasing between 2002 and 2018.

The number of IVF cycles in Australia & New Zealand was 51,017 in 2005, 61,774 in 2010, 77,721 in 2015 and 84,064 in 2018. The number of IVF liveborn babies was 9,283 in 2005, 12,056 in 2010, 14,655 in 2015 and 15,980 in 2018.

The number of IVF cycles and liveborn babies increased across all age groups showing IVF is becoming more common in Australia & New Zealand for women of all ages:

Number of IVF Cycles in Australia & New Zealand by Year & Age (excluding surrogacy & donations)
<3030-3435-3940-44>44
20055,21414,71516,7198,8411,076
20106,54415,84922,68613,9841,624
20157,85621,39027,00218,0372,024
20167,96922,53828,31118,4992,214
20178,38922,87929,21917,7942,388
20187,93623,55330,13518,5692,377
Number of IVF Liveborn Babies in Australia & New Zealand by Year & Age
<3030-3435-3940-44>44
20059253,0653,191914119
20101,3313,6614,4221,675166
20151,5924,8565,3482,059240
20161,4815,0325,5812,218278
20171,5735,1495,8492,142281
20181,5585,1946,1362,358293

Like the UK numbers, the increase in IVF cycles is greater for older age groups, with it being about 50% for women under 35 and about 100% or more for women 35 and over.

This time however, the number of liveborn babies did not increase by the same amount across all ages but instead was, like IVF cycles, greater for older age groups. Either way the overall trend is the same. IVF becoming more common for women of all ages.

These numbers come from the Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) which can be found here.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in Canada

Graph Showing the Number of ART Cycles & Live Births in Canada by Year

In Canada, IVF is also becoming more common with the number of ART cycles and live births increasing (with the exception of one dip). The number of ART cycles were 15,000 in 2008, 27,356 in 2012, 29,538 in 2015 and 34,136 in 2017. The number of live births in Canada were 3,932 in 2008, 5,971 in 2012, 6,379 in 2015 and 6,903 in 2017.

Once again, this increase occurs across all age groups as can be seen in the following table:

Number of ART Cycles in Canada by Year & Age
<3535-3738-4041-42>42
201310,5205,9064,8922,3831,648
201411,1826,5635,6902,9011,859
201511,4906,8536,1442,9242,156
201612,1347,3496,3493,1902,252
201713,3478,0226,8613,3792,492
201813,1938,4317,3023,5982,787

These numbers come from the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society which can be found here.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in Japan

Graph Showing the Number of ART Cycles & Newborns in Japan by Year

As you can see from the graph above, the number of ART cycles and Newborns in Japan has increased between 2000 – 2018. ART cycles were 125,470 in 2005, 242,161 in 2010, 424,151 in 2015 and 454,893 in 2018. The number of newborns were 19,112 in 2005, 28,945 in 2010, 51,001 in 2015 and 56,979 in 2018. Clearly IVF has also become more common in Japan.

And once again, for all ages:

Number of ART Cycles in Japan by Year & Age
<3535-3738-4041-42>42
200857,13743,35742,79521,14226,188
201589,76980,827107,76673,78972,000
201697,71184,942113,16277,26774,708
2017103,24984,498111,39773,96575,101
2018107,27685,608111,34573,59677,068
Number of ART Live Births in Japan by Year & Age
<3535-3738-4041-42>42
201518,45413,70912,0424,0531,315
201619,81914,28712,6974,4081,293
201721,59814,73612,8214,3891,453
201822,15414,62812,9244,3391,454

Since the 2008 number for ART cycles were available it’s interesting to note that in ten years, they almost doubled for women up to 37, they almost tripled for women between 38 – 40 and they more than tripled for women over 40.

However, if you just look at the number of ART cycles and live births between 2015 and 2018, you’ll see a relatively greater increase of both, the younger the age group. This might indicate IVF becoming more common the younger the age group but with so much data unavailable it’s difficult to say for certain.

These numbers come from the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) and can be found here.

IVF Is Becoming More Common in Russia

Graph Showing the Number of ART Cycles & Births in Russia by Year

The final country I looked at was Russia where IVF is also becoming more common. As you can see, the number of ART cycles (excluding donation cycles) and births in Russia has increased. ART cycles were 17,242 in 2005, 39,988 in 2010, 111,972 in 2015 and 158,815 in 2018. The number of births were 3,855 in 2005, 11,417 in 2010, 30,039 in 2015 and 37,987 in 2018.

The table below shows IVF in Russia is becoming more common for women of  all ages because the number of ART cycles and births is increasing across every age group:

Number of ART Cycles in Russia by Year & Age
<3535-39>39
20058,8703,4451,966
201019,98911,0806,035
201550,92432,79117,229
201656,27333,66618,578
201762,74539,51121,880
201865,17042,12823,755
Number of ART Births in Russia by Year & Age
<3535-39>39
20073,2671,448393
20105,5922,6971,068
201514,0857,4642,476
201615,0377,2592,438
201716,4938,0973,022
201817,4389,1483,203

Interestingly, the increase is mostly relatively greater the older the age group both for ART cycles and births. Relatively speaking therefore, in Russia, while IVF is becoming more common for women of all ages it’s becoming even more common for older age groups.

These numbers come from the Russian National ART Register and can be found here.

Some Concrete Takeaways From All the Numbers

There are a number of things that we can see from the numbers presented:

  • The number of ART cycles and births are still increasing both worldwide and in all the countries I looked at. Even today, IVF is becoming more common.
  • IVF is becoming more common for women of all ages. Sometimes it’s becoming even more common, relatively speaking, for older age groups.
  • ART cycles are increasing more rapidly than births in all countries. A hypothesis to explain this is the increasing industrialization and commoditization in IVF practice that affects IVF outcomes. No, I’m still not a scientist, it was just something I read here.

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