by Evelyn Yamine
IVF treatment has become more popular and successful, with a rising trend of single instead of multiple births.
But the assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2009 report, to be released today, also showed the success rate for older women is still low.
The number of IVF cycles in both countries rose by 48 per cent since 2005 and up 14 per cent from 2008. There were 70,541 IVF treatments - 92.4 per cent in Australian clinics - resulting in 17 per cent live births of at least one baby and a 23 per cent pregnancy rate.
The number of multiple births continued to drop to a rate of 8.2 per cent - 8 per cent had twins, 0.2 per cent triplets - compared to 8.4 per cent in 2008 and 14.1 per cent in 2005.
Experts said this was because clinicians were now implanting single instead of multiple embryos because it was safer.
Fertility Society of Australia president Peter Illingworth said Australia was leading the way in the voluntary reduction in the number of embryos being transferred to reduce the number of multiple pregnancy rates.
"This is because we are concerned about the long term effects of multiple births on both the women and children," he said.
He said, for women aged between 30 and 40 who used their own eggs, the live delivery rate was up to 27 per cent. This compared to less than 1 per cent for women aged over 44.
"Advancing women's age is associated with a decrease in live delivery rates," he said.
The average age of women using their own eggs was 35.8, while those using donor eggs were on average 40.8 years old.
Sonia Green and her husband John, who have been married for more than 13 years, were unable to conceive naturally so turned to Sydney fertility clinic Genea for help.
Ms Green's second cycle of IVF worked and she gave birth to daughter Ada in June.
They only wanted one embryo implanted each time.
"We just wanted one based on the doctor's recommendation," Ms Green, 36, said.
"There are fewer health risks and there was also a higher chance of it being successful if we tried for one.
"IVF wasn't an easy process and when I didn't get pregnant the first time, it was really tough. It took me five months to give it another go.
"But I'm glad I did."
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report also found about 3 per cent of all women who had babies in Australia received IVF, with 95.2 per cent using their own eggs, either fresh or frozen, while a minority used either surrogates or donor eggs.
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