Couples who are considering infertility treatment
will be encouraged by a new study confirming the effectiveness of in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
More than one million babies have been born following IVF since the first 'test-tube' baby was born over 30 years ago.
Now, scientists at Boston IVF and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) have followed more than 6,000 women through six cycles of IVF to calculate the chances of a successful live birth.
They found that, in younger women, the chances of a live birth following IVF range from 65 per cent to 86 per cent, while over-40s can expect a success rate of between 23 per cent and 42 per cent.
Lead author Dr Beth Malizia, a clinical fellow at Boston IVF and in the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at BIDMC, said that the findings show that IVF is "extraordinarily effective and largely overcomes infertility, especially in younger women".
Dr Alan Penzias, senior author of the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that IVF treatment has "come of age".
The scientist concluded: "With these successful results, we have shown that fertility can be restored to the majority of young women who want to have a baby."
Estimates suggest that at least one in five UK couples who are of reproductive age are affected by infertility.