The IVF method has made incredible strides since the world's first test tube baby was born in 1978; today, most types of infertility can be treated with IVF. In the 35 years that have passed since then, both the number of successful procedures and the safety of the procedure have risen substantially. Some of the milestones in this field include improved culture media, specially-designed incubators that can control heat and gas concentration with precision, oocyte retrieval using ultrasound and the introduction of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), as well as reliable freezing methods for leftover embryos. The number of successful procedures has increased dramatically. At the dawn of the IVF age, the chances of pregnancy were quite low, but now the chances that an attempt will succeed have risen to 30%-50% (depending on age).
Statistically speaking, two out of three women will bear children over the course of three completed attempts (some give birth after the first attempt, some after the second, and some after the third attempt).
Bleeding and infections associated with IVF procedures are very rare. The risk of overstimulation of the ovarian follicles can be treated using what is referred to as coasting (by waiting a day or two before giving the ovulation injection) and/or draining the ascites fluid (fluid in the abdomen). The risk of bearing twins has been minimised ever since, about 10 years ago, it became the standard procedure to restore one fertilised egg at a time to the uterus.
The first test tube baby in Scandinavia was born at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg in 1982. A year later, Per Sundström’s group made possible the birth of the second test tube baby in Scandinavia at Malmö University Hospital, which then became one of the 12-15 first clinics in the world to “manufacture” a test tube baby. Today there are thousands of IVF clinics in the world, and more than 5 million test tube babies have been born.