What were the utilization, effectiveness and safety of practices in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) globally in 2014 and what global trends could be observed?
The estimated total number of ART cycles conducted in 76 participating countries in 2014 was 1.93 million representing ∼66% of global activity, with 5-year trends including an increase in success rates and proportion of frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles, improvement in cumulative live birth rates per aspiration, a continued increase in single embryo transfer (SET) and thus a reduction in multiple birth rates, an increase in preimplantation genetic testing and stabilization in the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
ART is widely practiced throughout the world but continues to be characterized by significant disparities in utilization, practice, effectiveness and safety. The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART) annual world report series provides an important instrument for tracking trends in ART treatment and for providing clinical and public health data to ART professionals, health authorities, patients and the general public.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
A retrospective, cross-sectional survey on ART procedures performed globally during 2014 was carried out. A new method for calculating ART utilization rates and number of babies born was introduced in this latest ICMART world report.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
Overall, 76 countries and 2 746 ART centres submitted data through national and regional ART registries on ART cycles performed during 2014 and their treatment and pregnancy outcomes. ART cycles and outcomes are described at a country level, regionally and globally. Aggregate country data are processed and analyzed based on methods developed by ICMART.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
A total of 1 629 179 ART cycles were reported for the treatment year 2014. After imputing data for missing values and non-reporting centres in reporting countries, an estimated 1 929 905 cycles resulted in >439 039 babies in reporting countries. From 2010 to 2014, the number of reported non-donor aspirations and FET cycles increased by 37.3% and 67.5%, respectively. The proportion of women aged ≥40 years undergoing non-donor ART increased from 23.2% in 2010 to 27.0% in 2014. ICSI, as a percentage of non-donor aspiration cycles, remained relatively stable at 64.8%. The IVF/ICSI combined delivery rates per fresh aspiration and FET cycle were 19.9% and 24.3%, respectively. In fresh non-donor cycles, SET increased from 30.0% in 2010 to 40.0% in 2014, while the average number of transferred embryos decreased from 1.95 to 1.73—but with wide country variation. The rate of twin deliveries following fresh non-donor transfers continued to decrease, from 20.4% in 2010 to 16.2% in 2014, and the triplet rate decreased from 1.1% to 0.5%. In FET non-donor cycles in 2014, the SET rate was 61.6%, with an average of 1.43 embryos transferred, resulting in twin and triplet rates of 10.1% and 0.2%, respectively. The cumulative delivery rate per aspiration increased from 27.1% in 2010 to 32.1% in 2014. The overall perinatal mortality rate per 1 000 births was 19.4 following fresh IVF/ICSI cycles and 9.5 following FET cycles. Among reporting countries, oocyte donation cycles represented 7.3% of all embryo transfers (89 751 transfer cycles) and resulted in 39 278 babies.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
The data presented are dependent on the quality and completeness of data submitted by individual countries to ICMART directly or through regional registries. This report covers approximately two-thirds of world ART activity. China is a major contributor of global cycles missing from this report. Continued efforts to improve the quality and consistency of ART data reported by registries are still needed, including the use of internationally agreed standard definitions (The International Glossary of Infertility and Fertility Care). A new method was introduced in this report to calculate ART utilization and number of babies born following ART; therefore, these results are not directly comparable with previous reports.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
The ICMART world reports provide the most comprehensive global statistical census and review of ART utilization, effectiveness, safety and quality. While ART treatment effectiveness and safety continue to increase globally, the wide disparities in access to treatment, procedures performed and embryo transfer practices warrant attention by clinicians and policymakers. The new method for estimating ART utilization and number of babies born provided more conservative estimates compared to the previuos method.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
ICMART receives unrestricted grants from Abbott and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. ICMART also acknowledges financial support from the following organizations: American Society for Reproductive Medicine; Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction; European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology; Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand; Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine; Japan Society of Fertilization and Implantation; Red Latinoamericana de Reproducción Asistida; and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. S.D. reports industry sponsorship for attendance of conference from Ferring, and research grants to support African Network and Registry of ART from Ferring and Merck outside the submitted work. F.Z.-H. reports lectures at organized webinars for Ferring and Merck. O.I. reports honoraria for consulting from Ferring, Merck and ObsEva, as well as honoraria for lectures from Ferring and Merck. G.M.C., J.d.M., M.B., M.S.K. and G.D.A. have nothing to disclose.
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