The first child conceived via IVF turned 40 this year. Since Louise Brown’s birth in 1978, however, innovation on the core technology has been incremental. A series of improvements in storage media and incubation of the blastocysts have led to progressively higher success rates. However, in the past 20 years, there has been little change in the IVF procedure itself or in the patient experience.
Instead, technological innovation has centered around cryo-preservation of eggs and genetic testing. Cryo-preservation helps women preserve their fertility and reduce the chance of miscarriage and birth defects which increase with age. According to the U.S.’s Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), 7,000 women froze their eggs in 2016 – five times the figure in 2009. Genetic testing to screen for potential defects in the fetus has also risen substantially in popularity over the last five years.