The number of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments in Australia has increased by almost half in the past four years, according to new figures.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report into assisted reproductive technology shows a 48 per cent rise in treatments has occurred since 2005, with a 14 per cent increase since 2008.
The total number of treatment cycles was carried out in Australia and New Zealand in 2009 was 70,541 – with a quarter of these ending in pregnancy.
Some costs incurred when undertaking assisted reproductive services such as IVF – particularly for multiple cycles – may be covered by private health insurance, however waiting periods usually apply.
More than 95 per cent of women participating in IVF used their own fresh or frozen eggs, rather than donor eggs or surrogacy.
According to AIHW spokeswoman Liz Sullivan, the number of births from IVF was growing steadily – with an estimated 3 per cent of women who gave birth in Australia receiving some form of fertility assistance.
The most significant increase was seen in women over the age of 40, while the rate of multiple births has also dropped by almost six per cent since 2005.