40 years of fertility treatments – look how far we’ve come…
1978 The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, is born in the UK. Her sister, also conceived through IVF, is born four years later.
1981 Kiwi couples fly to Australia to receive IVF treatment, which is costly. The first Fertility Support Volunteer Organisation is
formed in New Zealand.
This later evolves into Fertility NZ.
1983 Dr Freddie Graham, founder of
Fertility Associates, is performing IVF at Auckland
1984 Amelia Bell,
New Zealand’s first IVF baby, is born.
1987 Freddie and Dr Richard Fisher found Fertility Associates, the first private IVF
clinic in NZ. The first baby born from a thawed embryo in New Zealand is from an embryo frozen at Fertility Associates this year.
1991 Donor egg treatment starts in NZ at
Fertility Associates, though there is
no ethical framework yet.
Identifiable sperm donors
are also introduced in New Zealand.
Following advice from the Human Rights Commission, single women are able to start IVF treatment. An ethics committee
for IVF is established.
1994 ICSI, where
sperm is injected into the egg, is introduced, giving poor sperm a chance. Previously, the egg and sperm were left in the petri dish to fertilise. At first, doctors took an hour to inject each egg – nowadays, it can be done in a
Publicly funded IVF treatment becomes available in New Zealand.
The first eggs are
frozen in New Zealand, although it won’t be legal to
thaw and use them for another
five years. A second cycle of IVF is added to publicly funded treatment. The Human Reproductive Technology Act is passed, which
helps link donor-born babies
to their donors.
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
(PGD) is introduced. Couples who have
a chance of passing serious genetic disorders
on to their children, such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s, Beta-thalassemia and Fragile X can screen embryos and select those who don’t contain
A law change means Kiwi women can now thaw and use frozen eggs that were previously frozen for medical or social reasons.
Time Lapse Imaging is introduced, which captures
the first five days of embryo development in an undisturbed environment.
This allows embryologists to choose the embryos most likely to succeed,
reducing multiple cycles and miscarriages
Pre-implantation Genetic Screening
(PGS) becomes more accessible to Kiwi couples, after it’s introduced through a Canterbury laboratory. PGS can help women who aren’t getting pregnant, despite
the transfer of several embryos, and those over 36, who have a higher
chance of miscarriage.
Fertility treatment is now available to many people, including same sex couples. Young women can test their future fertility with the the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test. Fertility
Associates estimates that more than 19,000 babies have been born as a result of IVF since it was introduced in NZ.