LIVINGSTON, NJ--(Marketwire - Nov 19, 2012) - In a new paper, published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online, Dr. Jacques Cohen of Althea and colleagues propose a projected timeline for achieving the ultimate goal of in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques: 100% success rate following transfer of a single embryo. The authors of the paper, which is titled, "Past performance of assisted reproduction technologies as a model to predict future progress: a proposed addendum to Moore's law," evaluated publicly available US national data reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) from 2003-2010 (www.sart.org). Their analyses revealed a linear increase in embryo implantation rate -- the percentage of transferred embryos that form a fetus following transfer -- ranging between 0.3% and 1.5% from year to year for patients younger than 42 years.
The researchers argued that this incline is in major part technology driven and proposed that this linear pattern followed Moore's law, which predicts annual improvements in microchip performance affecting computer processing and internet speed. Moore's Law, however, has not been applied to biological technologies.
Based on the assumption that technology will continue to drive progress, the researchers projected the pattern into future years to predict when implantation rate would reach 100%. The interval varied between 43 years (AD 2053) for the youngest age group (< 35 years old) and 294 years for the 41-42-year age group. The timeframe is shifted for the younger patients to an earlier date of 2027 when a subset of clinics with high annual improvement in implantation and low annual variation is selected. These findings suggest that it will be at least 50 years before the technology of IVF in young patients is perfected, since the first IVF baby was born in 1978. The findings also set future standards for this medical practice and may allow professionals to determine whether clinic's performance meets expectations and whether new technologies contribute to progress.