40 years of fer­til­ity treat­ments – look how far we’ve come…

NEXT (New Zealand) - - Health -

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

few min­utes.


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

the genes.


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

for many.


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.

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