We've been promised many things in the future that have yet to pan out -- flying cars, meals in a pill, and of course teleportation. But one thing we were told would happen may be closer than we realize -- the test tube babies.
According to Mail Online, two Australian veterinarians have arrived at the bold conclusion that within ten years, people will no longer be bothering to have sex in order to try and make babies.
The startling vision of the future comes from John Yovich, a veterinary doctor from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
He believes [in vitro fertilization] can ease the pressure on couples who have delayed having children to pursue a career, because going for the test-tube option will be more effective than trying for a baby naturally.
Dr Yovich, co-author of a new report in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine, said: 'Natural human reproduction is at best a fairly inefficient process.
'Within the next five to ten years, couples approaching 40 will assess the IVF industry first when they want to have a baby.' He based his hunch on the fact that in cattle, IVF works almost every time. He said there was no reason that success rate could not be replicated in humans.
His co-author, fellow Australian vet Gabor Vajta, said test-tube embryo production in cattle was 100 times more efficient than natural means. He said there was no reason why IVF in humans should not become 100 times more efficient than sex.
It's an interesting idea to consider. If IVF were in fact nearly 100 percent successful, how much would that change the rate of people using it, versus trying to conceive on their own? And more so, how would that change the way that our society views large families?
Imagine that it's the year 2020. Trends have continued over the decade where couples start families later and later, some due to wanting to establish careers first, or pay off overwhelming student debt as education costs continue to skyrocket. More states have also begun allowing legalized gay marriages, increasing the number of stable, committed couples able to legally pass property from one to another and visit each other in hospitals, making them more inclined to start families of their own with a little help from technology.
And, surprising to few, environmental factors such as BPA and other toxins in the water, soil and even air have continued to diminish human fertility. In light of this variety of factors, it has become increasingly hard for a couple to naturally conceive a child on their own, and with a nearly perfect success rate in IVF, why would they want to waste the years it could take with no certainty that there would be a baby at the end of the journey.
The question then becomes, if IVF becomes the first and likely way to try to have a child, would the costs then decrease due to the overwhelming number of patients? Or would the pricetag for assisted reproductive technologies continue to be at astronomical rates?
Currently, it costs between $10,000 and $15,000 for an average IVF session in the United States once you include the various doctors, drugs, appointments and storage issues. Although IVF coverage is offered in many insurance plans, many employers choose not to provide that coverage due to high costs. In some cases you could attempt to purchase a separate plan, but it could cost as much as $500 a month and still carry a very large deductible. Assuming that these costs either stay the same or increase over the next decade, one thing can be fairly easily assumed.
If IVF becomes the primary way to have a child, the only people having children will likely be financially well off.
Once upon a time and not so long ago, being overweight in our society was a symbol of prosperity. Being able to afford the extensive amount of food necessary to be fat was a sign that you were a member of the upper class. Imagine if someday we find ourselves saying the same thing about large families. To be able to have three, four, even more children would prove that you not only have the financial ability to provide for an extensive amount of people but to even create them in the first place. The comfortably wealthy would no longer be recognized by their cars or clothing labels, but by the size of their strollers and numbers of carseats.
Meanwhile, those without access to tens of thousands of dollars that could used for pregnancy services (after all, even if IVF became 100 percent successful, the definition of success is not, in fact, a live birth, but simply the implantation of a live embryo) would find themselves literally unable to "afford" to have a family.
So, is sex literally going out of style, and is IVF going to take over as the way to have your family? Maybe for those who have the disposable income to be able to make that a reality. For the rest of society, though, it appears that despite the struggles and setbacks that can come with infertility issues, either because of health, age or environmental factors, the old fashioned way will likely be the only way many will be able to have a child.