Five millionth 'test tube baby'
Published: 2nd Jul 2012 02:22:39
Five million "test tube babies" have now been born around the world, according to research presented at a conference of fertility experts.
Delegates hailed it as a "remarkable milestone" for fertility treatments.
The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in the UK in July 1978. Her mother Leslie Brown died last month.
However, delegates at the conference in Turkey warned couples not to use fertility treatment as an "insurance policy" if they delayed parenthood.
The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Icmart) presented its latest data on children born to infertile parents at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference.
It said official figures up to 2008, plus three years of estimates, put the total number of test tube babies born at five million.
Icmart chairman Dr David Adamson said: "This technology has been highly successful in treating infertile patients. Millions of families with children have been created, thereby reducing the burden of infertility.
"The technology has improved greatly over the years to increase pregnancy rates."
About 1.5 million cycles of IVF, and similar techniques, are performed every year, resulting in 350,000 babies, Icmart said.
Stuart Lavery, a consultant gynaecologist and director of IVF at Hammersmith Hospital, said: "IVF is now part of the mainstream, it is no longer something couples are ashamed of."
However, he cautioned that the great success of assisted reproduction techniques should not lull people into thinking they could wait to have children.
"The subtext is that if people delay childbirth they may view IVF as an insurance policy that they can access at any stage.
"Unfortunately the facts still suggest that IVF success rates in women as they get older are not fantastic."
Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "I think it's significant that we've got to five million. It's far more socially acceptable than it has been over the last 10 or 20 years.
"One word of warning, we should make sure that couples understand that IVF isn't a guaranteed solution and if they're in a position to have their children earlier in life then they should try and do that.
"IVF really is something that should be preserved for those people who really need it."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Five millionth 'test tube baby' [Online] (Updated 2nd Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1438008/Five-millionth-test-tube-baby [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com