Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine – The first Sunday of April is celebrated as the White Orchid Day. In the past 10 years, due to Genesis Dnepr only in Dnipropetrovsk 1150 IVF babies were born. Ukraine now counts about 16 000 IVF citizens. According to ESHRE overall around 5 million lives had emerged due to the in vitro fertilization method of reproduction (IVF) worldwide.
Thirty four years ago, a gynecologist Patrick Steptoe successfully introduced IVF reproduction technology developed by a British physiologist Robert Edwards. And on July 25, 1978 the first ‘test-tube’ baby Louise Brown was born. The new technology which had made it possible was recognized as a triumph in medicine and science. Three decades later, Robert Edwards was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Owing to the technology developed by Edwards, the total of about 5 mln. people were born in the world since 1978 as counted by ESHRE. This could be the population of a small European country, such as Norway, for instance. Having caught up with Britain by 1991, Ukraine now counts about 16 thousand IVF citizens. In the past 10 years, just in Dnipropetrovsk 1150 IVF babies were born.
Infertility is an extremely important global issue these days. As reported by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, there are about 1 mln. infertile couples in Ukraine. In different regions of the country, 10-35 per cent of couples are not able to conceive. Meanwhile, according to the WHO, when the number of infertile marriages exceeds 15 per cent of all couples, the country is exposed to the risk of a demographic crisis.
‘Actually, the situation is much worse’, says Igor Perelygin, the IVF pioneer in Dnipropetrovsk. ‘The statistics include only couples who seek medical assistance. But there are a lot of those who do not’. IVF treatment is efficient in 95% of cases. However, while assisted reproduction is the call of one woman out of every 500 in Europe, in Ukraine it is only one woman out of 10 thousand. Today, up to 5 per cent of babies in Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are conceived through IVF. Family planning experts believe that ART increases birth rates by 4-5%.
Fertility treatment can be a way out for despaired families. According to Robert Geoffrey Edwards, the founder of the IVF ‘test-tube conception’, ‘having a baby is the most important thing in life’.
This year, the White Orchid Day falls on April 01. Guests of the event will be presented a theatrical performance starring the first IVF kids born with the assistance of Dnipropetrovsk fertility specialists in 2002, the charming ten-year-old twin girls. By the way, it was them who illustrated the Fairy Tale of the White Orchid; and now they will play good elves helping the Thumbelina come into this world.