Fertility & Treatments

Wherever you may be in your fertility journey, it can be useful to understand the facts about fertility to help you to feel well informed with every decision you make.

605,479 babies were born in England and Wales in 20221

0 million

people in the UK are affected by infertility2

0 %

of known pregnancies end in miscarriage3

0 %

of couples will become pregnant within six months of trying4

0 million

individuals are effected by infertility across the globe5

0 million

miscarriages happen every single year, effecting over 25% of all pregnancies6

0 %

of women suffer from post-natal depression7

0 million

babies are born prematurely each year across the world8


Work by Robert Edward and Patrick Steptoe led to successful fertilisation of a human egg in vitro for the first time. The two continued to work closely over the coming years to perfect their technique.


Louise Brown – the world’s first baby conceived through in vitro fertilisation was born at Oldham Hospital – UK, after her mother received treatment from Edwards and Steptoe.8


The birth of the first child conceived through egg donation.9


A successful birth was achieved from a cryopreserved (aka frozen) embryo.10


The first genetic screening to identify embryos without genetic defects for 
at-risk couples.11


The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is formed – the world’s first IVF regulator.12


Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was successfully used, resulting in four healthy babies (to four couples).11


Louise Brown’s sister, Natalie, gave birth to a baby girl called Casey, the first baby born to a parent herself conceived by IVF. Her having a child allayed fears that those conceived by IVF might be infertile themselves.


Donor anonymity removed – people conceived through egg, sperm or embryo donation can find out who their parent(s’) donor was.12


Same-sex and unmarried couples in the UK can both be legal parents without having to adopt under the HFE Act 2008.13


Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for the development of Human IVF Therapy.


Louise Brown celebrates her 40th birthday.14


Over 10 million babies15 have been born through IVF since 1978.

The history of IVF

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) has greatly advanced since the birth of the first IVF baby in 1978.

Through continuing scientific excellence, including advancements in cryopreservation (i.e. egg, sperm and embryo freezing) and genetic testing, IVF and assisted reproductive technology (ART) have helped millions of families worldwide achieve their dream of having a baby.7
Hormone Replacement Therapy, Progesterone Capsules
Micronised Vaginal Progesterone
Fertility Advice, Infertility Products, Cyclogest
  1. Office for National Statistics. Births in England and Wales: 2020. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/bulletins/birthsummarytablesenglandandwales/2022 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  2. Leaver RB. Male infertility: an overview of causes and treatment options. British Journal of Nursing 2016;25:S35-S40. Available at: https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/full/10.12968/bjon.2016.25.18.S35 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  3. Brann M, Bute JJ. Communicating to promote informed decisions in the context of early pregnancy loss. Patient Education and Counseling 2017;100:2269-2274. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738399117303622?via%3Dihub#bib0005 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  4. Taylor A. Extent of the problem. BMJ 2003;327:434. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/327/7412/434 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  5. WHO – Infertility Key Facts. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility
  6. Fauser BC. Towards the global coverage of a unified registry of IVF outcomes. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 2019;38:133-137. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30593441/ [Last accessed: March 2022].
  7. Brinsden PR. Thirty years of IVF: The legacy of Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. Human Fertility 2009;12:137-143. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14647270903176773 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  8. Brezina PR, Ning N, Mitchell E, Zacur HA, Baramki TA, Zhao Y. Recent Advances in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Current Obstetrics and Gynecology Reports 2012;1:166-173. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13669-012-0019-2 [Last accessed: March 2022].
  9. Monash IVF. Donor Eggs. Available at: https://monashivf.com/services/fertility-treatment-options/donor-eggs/ [Last accessed: March 2022].
  10. AP. First Baby Born of Frozen Embryo. New York Times 1984. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1984/04/11/us/first-baby-born-of-frozen-embryo.html [Last accessed: March 2022].
  11. Parikh FR, Athalye AS, Naik NJ, Naik DJ, Sanap RR, Madon PF. Preimplantation Genetic Testing: Its Evolution, Where Are We Today? Journal of Human Reproductive Science 2018;11:306-314. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6333033/ [Last accessed: March 2022].
  12. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Celebrating 40 years of IVF. Available at: https://www.hfea.gov.uk/celebrating-40-years-of-ivf/ [Last accessed: March 2022].
  13. NGA Law. Parenthood after donor conception: female partners of birth mothers. Available at: https://www.ngalaw.co.uk/knowledge-centre/parenthood-after-donor-conception-female-partners-of-birth-mothers [Last accessed: March 2022].
  14. TIME. What It Was Like to Grow Up as the World’s First ‘Test-Tube Baby’. Available at: https://time.com/5344145/louise-brown-test-tube-baby/ [Last accessed: March 2022].
  15. ESHRE ART Fact Sheet. https://www.eshre.eu/Europe/Factsheets-and-infographics