Frozen egg use in IVF doubled in two years in Victoria

  • The number of IVF treatment cycles using a patient's own (thawed) frozen eggs - frozen for social or medical reasons - more than doubles in two years in Victoria
  • Victorian ICSI use declines, but still well above the national average
  • Sperm donor numbers increase but clinics remain unable to meet demand

In the past two years, the number of IVF cycles involving a patient's own eggs which have been frozen and then thawed have more than doubled in Victoria, according to the 2018 Annual Report of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) tabled on Wednesday, September 20 in the Victorian Parliament.

The number of IVF cycles involving a patient's own thawed eggs - eggs frozen for social or medical reasons - grew from 77 in 2015-16, to 113 in 2016-17, and 163 in 2017-18 (see Table 2.5a).

“The use of a patient's own frozen eggs is clearly on the rise in Victoria. The data suggest not only that more women are choosing to freeze their eggs, but that some are also now using those eggs to try to have a family,” said Louise Johnson, VARTA CEO.

Victoria has seen a reduction in the state-wide use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where the sperm is injected directly into the egg for fertilisation - a procedure developed to overcome male infertility. The percentage of eggs where sperm was injected using ICSI in Victoria was 71.5 per cent in 2017-18 compared with 76.8 per cent in the previous year (see Table 2.4).

However, Victoria's overall use of ICSI continues to be well above national average, which was 62.9 per cent in 2016, according to the recent report, Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2016.

Ms Johnson welcomed the general trend towards a reduction in ICSI use in Victoria. "There is emerging evidence from Victorian data that there is no difference between ICSI and IVF in cumulative live birth rates when the fertility issue is not due to male infertility," she said.

"Considering the additional costs of using ICSI and emerging research findings that ICSI may be associated with a small but slightly increased risk of adverse outcomes for children born as a result of the treatment, the decrease in the use of ICSI is encouraging,” she said.

The annual report reveals the number of new sperm donors recruited in Victoria has increased by almost a quarter (560 in 2017-18 compared with 460 in the previous year). However, rising demand for donor treatment continues and many clinics are finding it challenging to meet this demand.

Ms Johnson welcomed the increase in new sperm donor numbers but said that there was a real need for more high-quality sperm donors. "The short-fall between the number of donors available in Victoria and local demand means that some people are choosing to go overseas for treatment," she said.

“Many people tell us they would prefer to have treatment locally where our laws provide stronger protections for everyone, where costs are lower, and also where their children will have more options down the track for connecting with their donor if they wish to do so,” she said.

 Additional information from VARTA’s 2018 Annual Report:

  • The number of live births from frozen embryo transfers (2,099) in 2016-17 far outweighs the number of births from fresh embryo transfers (1,297) reflecting the increasingly common practice of freezing all embryos (see tables 1.4a and 1.4b).
  • Table 1.4a provides outcomes from fresh embryo transfer cycles in 2016-17. The live birth rate per embryo transfer was: 20 per cent per embryo transfer overall; 31 per cent for women under 35 years; 21 per cent for women between 35 and 39; and nine per cent for women aged 40 years or more. This is similar to results for 2015-16. The live birth rate from thawed embryo transfer cycles 2016-17 was 27 per cent per embryo transfer (see Table 1.4b) (rates not broken down per age group as a woman's age when embryos are created may differ from her age when the embryos are used). It is important to bear in mind that not all cycles of stimulation result in the creation of an embryo for transfer.
  • There were 13 live births through surrogacy arrangements involving 40 surrogates from treatment in 2016-17 (see Table 1.6).

 

More information:

 

  • The 2018 Annual Report of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) can be found here.
  • The report, Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2016, can be found here.

 

Contact:

Marjorie Solomon, VARTA PR Officer

Phone: 0452 515 302; Email: [email protected]

 

Louise Johnson, VARTA CEO

Phone: 0419 557 639; Email: [email protected]