According to data from the Spanish Fertility Society, our country is the second territory of the European Union with the lowest fertility rate , equivalent to 1.23 children per woman.
Some of the reasons that would explain these data are the delay in the age at which women decide to become mothers -with the consequent associated fertility problems-, and the absence of social policies that encourage couples to start a family.
All this is causing an increase in fertility treatments . Not surprisingly, statistics suggest that more than 9% of all births in Spain are babies conceived through assisted reproduction.
But reproductive medicine is not only allowing couples to have children at older ages than a few decades ago, but its constant advances offer us important changes in terms of trends and the immediate future .
Dr. Federica Moffa, medical director of the Fertilab Barcelona clinic, has explained to us how the field of reproductive medicine is changing in our country .
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More and more women are turning to egg donation
Egg donation is an assisted reproduction technique in which a woman uses a donor’s eggs to become pregnant. Given the gradual delay that is being seen in the age of women who decide to become mothers, this technique is being used more and more.
Fertilab Barcelona ensures that in an IVF with egg donation the chances of success at the first attempt are around 80%, and the vast majority of women become pregnant between the first and second attempt.
Growing demand for fertility preservation
From the age of 35, the quality of a woman’s eggs and her ovarian reserve begin to plummet. So much so, that the chances of conceiving naturally are considerably reduced, also increasing the probability of miscarriage and/or genetic diseases.
For its part, and contrary to popular belief, sperm are not immune to the passage of time , and from the age of 45 male fertility also begins to decline .
Aware of these circumstances, more and more men and women decide to preserve their fertility in order to be fathers/mothers in the future, either because children are not currently part of their plans (for work, economic, social or personal), or for a health issue.
Reproduction treatments for male infertility causes increase
But not only age affects semen quality , but there are also many other causes that can alter the quantity, morphology and mobility of sperm.
In this sense, and according to the latest data collected by the Spanish Fertility Society, in recent years there has been a decline in the quality of the semen of Spaniards , a fact certified by the clinics with the increase in reproduction treatments by exclusive reasons for male infertility.
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The family model is changing
The family model is currently changing , and it is increasingly common to see women who decide to face motherhood alone , or homosexual couples looking for egg and/or sperm donors to start a family.
Another of the great changes that can be seen in reproductive medicine are the technological advances that have been developed in recent years, and that allow us to offer a better service to patients and increase pregnancy success rates – even in unfavorable a priori situations. -.
For example, today it is very common to request genetic compatibility studies between the patient and the donor, as well as embryo selection , in order to identify genetic problems (sometimes linked to the sex chromosomes ) and rid the baby of them .
The use of robots and mechanical processes is also being incorporated to achieve greater precision in microscopic processes.