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Over 250,000 babies born through IVF, but NI lags behind rest of country

By Staff Reporter

Published 04/11/2016

Impressed: HFEA’s Sally Cheshire
Impressed: HFEA’s Sally Cheshire

Northern Ireland has the fewest number of women using IVF treatment to have a baby, new figures show.

More than a quarter of a million UK babies have been born as a result of IVF.

The 250,000th IVF baby was born in February 2015, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

The British Fertility Society (BFS) welcomed the milestone figure, saying it was "great news" for patients and their families.

The fewest treatments take place in Northern Ireland, with 1,498 women undergoing treatment in 2014.

The overall figures show a sharp rise in the number of IVF and other assisted reproduction treatments in the 25 years since the HFEA was established.

In 1991, 6,146 women received 6,609 IVF treatments, resulting in 1,226 live births.

By 2013 this had risen to 52,288 women receiving 67,708 cycles of IVF treatment, from which 15,283 babies were born.

The success rate for IVF has risen from 14% in 1991 to 26.5% in 2014, according to the figures, released during National Fertility Awareness Week.

"When the HFEA was set up in 1991 we could never have imagined that over 250,000 babies would be born just 25 years later through assisted reproduction," said HFEA chairwoman Sally Cheshire.

"These babies are among the five million born worldwide and I am delighted that so many people have been able to have their much-longed-for family.

"We will continue to work with all UK fertility clinics to ensure the best quality care is given to patients, so even more families are created in the future."

Professor Adam Balen, chairman of the BFS, said: "The BFS welcomes this news that the number of children born from IVF and other assisted reproductive treatments has now passed a quarter of a million.

"This is a major milestone and is great news for parents and their families. This is particularly poignant in National Fertility Awareness Week, as we raise awareness of the many struggles couples face in having a much-wanted family.

Susan Seenan, chief executive of leading patient charity Fertility Network UK, said: "It is heart-warming and reassuring to hear during National Fertility Awareness Week that a quarter of a million IVF babies have now been born in the UK - in the nearly 40 years since the world's first IVF baby was born in the UK."

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