Illustration of in vitro fertilization.



  • A study conducted by INED, INSERM and the University of Saclay published on Thursday shows that around 150,000 women each year in France have recourse to infertility treatment.

  • A proportion that remained stable between 2008 and 2017, but which shifts over time.

    If young women are treated a little less, women over 34 are much more numerous than ten years ago.

  • Another study, still in progress, seems to show that the use of ART is increasing, while first-line treatments, drugs or injection of hormones without artificial insemination are declining.

How many couples, faced with infertility, undergo treatment to try to have a child?

Has this recourse increased in recent years in France?

The latest figures indicate that one in five couples fail to achieve pregnancy after twelve months of trying, but not all of them consult and do not go as far as medically assisted procreation (MAP).

The question arose in the media, but statistics on infertility were missing today in France.

This is why the study published this Thursday by the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED), the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the University of Saclay is proving particularly interesting.

1.25% of women treated for infertility each year

What does it show?

Between 2008 and 2017, 1.25% of women aged 20-49 on average were treated for infertility each year in France.

That is more than 150,000 women.

Remember that even when it is the man who is infertile, it is the woman who undergoes treatments, sometimes heavy, when it comes to assisted reproduction.

These results are based on the health insurance feedback.

Because in France, unlike other countries, infertility treatments are reimbursed, from hormonal stimulation to in vitro fertilization through artificial insemination.

On the other hand, for the moment, women who would like to have solo assisted reproduction, homosexual couples and women over 42 years old cannot, by law, benefit from this support.

This is the first estimate in the world carried out on a large population and taking into account all infertility treatments.

Because this study is not only interested in ART (Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization), but also in the preceding stages.

"We then speak of induction of ovulation, generally the first treatment that we give," explains Elise de La Rochebrochard, researcher at INED and co-author of the study.

Either clomid, an active substance sold in pharmacies, pills that a woman takes for five to ten days to produce eggs.

Second possibility: hormones injected by syringes or injection pens.

»Exactly the same treatment as a woman in IVF, but at a lower dose.

It is therefore the first time that these “pre-ART treatments” have been taken into account.

LDCs increasingly late

The study shows that over the past decade, the use of infertility treatment has remained stable, but has shifted over time.

“There is a double phenomenon: on the one hand, the youngest are a little less treated, underlines Elise de La Rochebrochard.

On the other hand, for women over 34, the recourse rate increased by 24%.

Clearly, for every 100 women over 34 treated in 2008, there were 124 in 2017.

Graph of the study on the use of infertility treatments from INED.


The researcher goes further: “A new analysis, which is underway, is comparing the use of ART with infertility treatments before ART.

It seems to indicate that we are treating more by PMA than before.

Which is quite consistent with our study: in older women, we will go much more quickly to assisted reproduction because time is running out.


And this sticks with another study, already published, which shows that the number of children born after ART has significantly increased in recent years.

The authors of the study published this Thursday stress that this issue must be treated as a public health problem.

Because the later the treatments are taken, the less they work.

What several doctors interviewed in this article hammered: information to women, but also to men, must be improved.

Elise de La Rochebrochard, however, highlights a study, named

Seven out of ten couples treated with IVF manage to become parents

, which gives balm to the heart.

“Of 100 couples treated with IVF, 41 had a child during IVF, 7 after with other treatments, 12 became parents through a natural birth, 11 adopted a child.

There is always hope.


Graphic of an INED study on parenthood after IVF.



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