Record number of children born from IVF in Japan in 2019

By The Yomiuri Shimbun
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a form of IVF in which a single sperm cell is injected into an egg. (Credit: The Yomiuri Shimbun)

A record 1 in 14 children was born with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments in Japan in 2019, according to data recently compiled by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In its latest annual study of IVF outcomes, the society said that 458,101 fertility treatments were performed in about 600 medical facilities in 2019 and 60,598 births were reported -- both record highs.

A total of 710,931 IVF babies have been born in Japan, since the nation's first birth through the procedure at Tohoku University in 1983.

IVF is a fertility treatment in which a mature egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body and transferred back into a uterus.

Japan's public health insurance system has not covered the cost of IVF, which averages about 500,000 yen per treatment, according to a government survey.

But faced with declining birthrates, the government has pledged to bring more fertility treatments under public health insurance coverage from fiscal 2022.

Although the number of hopeful parents turning to fertility treatments has been gradually rising over the past few years, this upward trend may be curbed by the novel coronavirus crisis, as couples refrain from seeking treatment amid the pandemic.

Professor Yukiko Katagiri of Toho University Omori Medical Center, who compiled the data, said, "Statistics from the year 2020 and on may show the effects of the pandemic and public health insurance coverage."

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