Analysis: Researchers believe in vitro fertilization may be overused

The risks of in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be outweighing the benefits for many couples, according to the Evidence Based IVF Group, which includes Penn State College of Medicine’s Dr. Richard Legro. The study appears in The BMJ.

Researchers questioned whether IVF is an effective option for unexplained fertility given the risks, such as premature birth and high blood pressure in the child born through IVF. The technique was originally used for women with tubal disease, but its usage has expanded. While the number of IVF cycles remained 7,000 in the United Kingdom, the proportion of cycles for tubal problems fell from 19 percent to 12 percent between 2000 and 2011.

As a result of the analysis, researchers found a lack of questioning by doctors and patients about the perceived success of the technique. They also called for further evaluation in situations where natural conception is possible, and for the investigation of the safety and effectiveness of IVF. 

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Last Updated February 12, 2014