Expert warns IVF is producing a new generation of infertile Australian children who will require expensive medical treatment to produce their own offspring.
University of Newcastle laureate professor, John Aitken, also warned of ongoing health problems with IVF children, suggesting that male children of ageing fathers who used assisted pregnancy procedures were prone to cancer, reports SMH.
One in every 25 Australian children are now born as a result of IVF.
He said the trend to IVF raised equity issues in how much money society should pay helping couples have children and research was revealing previously unsuspected health risks such as increased cancer rates among boys whose fathers – but not mothers – smoked and used assisted conception techniques.
“We should guard against recklessly marching into a future where we use too much assisted conception in order to compensate for our loss of fertility,” he said.
“Its an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next.”
Dr Aitken is world-renown for his work on the largely neglected field of male reproduction.
Delivering a lecture at the BoschInstitute, Human fertility: How Lifestyle, Affluence and the Medical Profession are killing our Species, Professor Aitken criticised the IVF industry for ignoring the fact that failure to conceive stemmed largely from male fertility problems.
He said the human male was not a very fertile individual.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – binding a sperm cell to an egg – was an IVF procedure now being used by many couples.
But the reproductive biologist said new ICSI research coming out of Belgium showed there may be a price to pay:
“There is a negative pay-off. If you have a son from this process it is possible that he too will have the same pathology that you had.”
“We cannot change their fundamental biology,” Prof Aitken said.
“The average age of women in IVF is 36/7 years. If you’re contemplating a family when you’re close to the edge, IVF cannot fix you up. IVF live birth rates decline from 35 to 42 exactly the same way in naturally conceived population.
“The unfortunate thing is that the biology doesn’t understand that narrative.”
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