How cutting-edge tech is helping to deliver newborns
Ric Edelman: It's Thursday, October 12th. 12 million people in the world were not conceived inside a woman's body. They were conceived in a laboratory test tube. I'm talking about IVF, in vitro fertilization. It was invented back in 1978. And today there are four IVF babies born every three minutes. For every 175 newborns in the world, one of them is an IVF baby. 25 to 30% of the embryos that are transferred to the wombs of women in their mid-30s now lead to live births. That's four times better than was accomplished back in the 1990s.
It's amazing what this tech allows us to do. People who otherwise would not be able to have a baby now can. Although the procedure is still fraught with problems, it's expensive and intrusive, there's a big emotional cost to go through the entire process since there's no guarantee of success. But think back to Louise Brown. She was the first baby born from IVF back in 1978. In 1985, two women gave birth to IVF babies using eggs donated by other women. And then came the first successful pregnancy from a frozen egg. The tech lets infertile heterosexual couples have a baby as well as same sex couples and single women. It's also great for people who are at high risk of passing on a genetic disease.
All this is letting women get pregnant later in life than ever. 50 years ago, the average age for a woman to have her first child was age 24. Now it's age 29. 20% of women now have their first child when they're over 35 and 10% of births are to mothers over 40.
What's next? Imagine not just fertilizing eggs in the lab but making them there so older women who didn't freeze any eggs could have them made. Gay men could combine their sperm so their child is biologically related to both of them. Yes, three people producing a child. Just imagine the issues associated with all of this, not just economics. IVF costs $20,000 right now, but there are other issues, issues of ethics, public morality and consumer safety. Brave new world brought along by technology. Just some of what the future has in store for us.
Hey, be sure to listen to my wife. Jean's podcast, Self-Care with Jean Edelman. Her new weekly episode comes out today. Jean shares her experience and knowledge with you on self-care, mindfulness and overall wellness. You can listen to Jean everywhere you get your podcasts and you can also subscribe to Self-care with Jean.com.