Vietnam marks ten years of in vitro fertilization

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Over 4,000 in vitro fertilization (IVF) babies have been born in Vietnam since French specialists first helped with IVF program at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City a decade ago.

IVF in Vietnam has made great advancements since the country was involved in the first program in 1997, Tu Du's Artificial Reproductive Technology Deputy Director Vuong Thi Ngoc Lan said.

The doctor said Vietnam is leading the ASEAN region in IVF technologies.

Artificial reproductive technology (ART) is the science of taking female eggs and male sperm out of the body and replacing the fertilized egg into the woman's body.

There are 500 to 2,000 IVF cases per one million inhabitants in developing countries like Vietnam every year.

About five percent of cases are successful.

Vietnam's first successful IVF cycle was started in 1997 and the first three IVF babies were born on April 30, 1998.

Different techniques

In 1999, the first baby was born by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a process which surmounts fertilization problems or poor sperm quality.

The year 2000 marked the first ART baby using recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which was followed by the first baby from a female egg donation the same year.

There have been other technical developments the first gestational surrogacy baby in 2001, the first MESA-ICSI baby in 2002, and the first GnRH antagonist baby in 2003.

2003 also marked the first frozen embryo baby and the one thousandth ART baby at Tu Du Hospital.

The first birth from the frozen oocyte (egg) and sperm method was in 2004.

The two thousandth ART birth was at Tu Du Hospital in 2005 and 2006 marked the first pregnancy from in vitro maturation of oocytes (IVM).

Since its launch at Tu Du, ART has been developed in 10 hospitals nationwide.

They include Hung Vuong Hospital, Sihospital and Van Hanh Hospital in HCMC; Hanoi Obstetrics Gynecology, Central Obstetrics Gynecology, Hai Phong Obstetrics Gynecology, and Thanh Hoa Obstetrics Gynecology in the north; and the Central Hue Hospital in Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Foreign clients

A few foreign clients had approached ART in Vietnam before 1999, but the program has become well known in the expatriate community and abroad.

Annually since 2002, almost nine percent or 100 ART clients at Tu Du Hospital have been.

"I could not imagine my life being complete without children," said Ina Stas, a Belgian patient who suffered from hormonal imbalance and could not have a normal pregnancy.

She said when she moved to Vietnam she came to Tu Du for assistance.

"Our first [IVF] son was born in September 2004 after 41 weeks' pregnancy, in perfect healthy condition. We named him Arno."

Reported by Vinh Bao

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