IVF could become the routine method of conception for 30-40 year olds within a decade, scientists predict.
Study leader Dr Gabor Vajta and his team found that in vitro embryo formation in cattle is now 100 times more efficient than natural calf creation, according to research published in last month's Reproductive BioMedicine Online. These rapid advances could potentially be adapted for humans, the researchers explain.
'We are not quite at that stage yet but it's where we're heading', said co-author Dr Yovich. 'Within the next five to ten years, couples approaching 40 will access the IVF industry first when they want to have a baby'.
Dr Vajta outlined how other techniques could also help increase success rates. He said that ICSI, a technique in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg, could remove much of the hit-and-miss results of natural fertilisation.
Dr Gedis Grudzinskas, fertility specialist and editor of Reproductive BioMedicine Online, said: 'It would not surprise me if IVF does become significantly more efficient than natural reproduction, but I doubt whether you could ever completely guarantee it would work'.The likelihood of natural conception in humans falls to less than 10 per cent once a woman is over 35. However, IVF success rates for healthy over 35's are near to 50 per cent, reported The Times newspaper.