While the birth rate has been on the decline in the United States, a record number of women are turning to in vitro fertilization to get pregnant, according to latest research.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology just released its annual report, which found that in 2012, 2,000 more babies were born using IVF than in the previous year. 2012 was also the year of the highest number of IVF-assisted births, at 61,740.
The rise may be explained by more women choosing to have children later, reducing their natural fertility. The average age for a new mom is now 26 — four years older than the 1980 average, according to the Center for Disease Control.
But even IVF is more successful for women under 35, the new statistics found.
IVF accounts for 1.5 percent of babies born in the United States, according to the CDC. The average cost is $12,400 per couple, not including extra medical expenses, making it an expensive procedure for many couples, who often need more than one round of treatment to conceive.
While there may be more couples having babies through in vitro technology, the American birth rate has been on the decline since 2007. About 3.95 million babies were born in 2012, which is below the population “replacement level,” according to demographers. The U.S. population is decreasing without enough babies to replace the previous generation.
According to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau at the end of last year, the aging baby boomer population and declining immigration are also contributors to the stalled population growth, now at its slowest since the Great Depression.