In 1978, Louise Brown, the first IVF baby, was born in the UK. In spring 1982, at Universitätsklinik Erlangen, the first German IVF baby, Oliver, was born. Since then, 100,000 children have been born in Germany following artificial insemination; worldwide this figure is 3 million. In Germany there are about 120 IVF centres.
The birth rate in Germany has been very low for decades and is currently at 1.4 children per woman. However, Germans desire to have more children (at the end of the 1980s it was as many as two children per woman). There are many reasons for this discrepancy. 34 percent of childless women stated that they would actually have liked to have children, but that getting pregnant did not work out. A total of 30 percent of 25 to 59-year olds in the population are childless; however, 8 percent do not want or never did want children. This emerges from a representative survey by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research.
According to this survey, 54 percent of respondents also believe that a woman’s fertility only begins to decrease from the age of 40. In reality, the probability of becoming pregnant reduces from at least the age of 30.
Only 52 percent of the childless couples who have difficulty to have children have consulted a doctor. Women who desire to have children and have difficulty getting pregnant are very well informed about the options that are available.
93 percent of women have heard of fertilisation outside of the body (as compared to only 84 percent of the general population). The majority of respondents spontaneously associates the term “artificial insemination” with something positive. Every fifth respondent considers artificial insemination to be “something completely normal these days”. More than half of women who have already undergone fertility treatment without success would still advise couples in the same situation to try it.
One percent of the almost 700,000 babies born annually in Germany came about through artificial insemination. That is at least 7,000 babies that would otherwise not have been born. In 2003, shortly before the statutory health insurance companies in Germany limited their contributions to half of the costs for three attempts, the share in this country was 2.6 percent. The absolute frontrunner in Europe is Denmark. Here, 4 of 100 new-borns are IVF babies.
Source: Survey by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research at the end of 2006, based on 3469 oral, face-to-face interviews among subjects in the 25-to-59 age group that is significant for the topic of reproductive medicine