Approximately five million babies have been born thanks to reproductive technology such as IVF and other fertility treatments. Think about it. Five million babies wouldn't be alive without these stunning developments in modern medicine.
That's millions of women who would have had their dreams of motherhood shattered.
The landmark figure was announced this week by the The International Committee for the Monitoring of Assisted Reproductive Technology. They represent more than 50 fertility organizations around the world.
"This comprehensive report confirms that we now have over 5 million babies born through Assisted Reproduction," International Federation of Fertility Societies Board member Mr. Richard Kennedy said. "More than that, it shows that half of them have been born in the last 6 years. The number of babies born through ART is now about the same as the population of a U.S. state such as Colorado, or a country such as Lebanon or Ireland. This is a great medical success story."
It was only in 1990 that 90,000 babies were born worldwide due to fertility treatments. By 2000 it had surged to 900,000. Then, in 2007 it was 2.5 million children. Now in 2013 it's up to 5 million and climbing.
Reproductive technology has been a godsend for Australian families. Imagine the pain of wanting to become a mum but physically not being able to. So many of us have struggled to become mothers or know women who have spent years in treatment trying to fall pregnant.
Meet three amazing Aussie mums who defied the odds to make their dreams of motherhood come true.
Louise, mother of two
When did you first realise you were having fertility issues?
I was 18 years old when diagnosed with Kallmann's Disease which basically means that my pituitary gland in my brain is asleep and does not release the hormones required to stimulate my ovaries to get my period each month, so I need to take the pill until menopause. I knew at that age that I would need to have fertility treatment when it came time to having kids so it was no surprise to Daniel or I.
How would you feel thinking you may not be able to have children?
It was very depressing to think about because one of my main goals in life was to be a mother. I was desperate to have and love a child of my own, especially since everyone around me was falling pregnant. I knew that I had so much love to give and that I would be a good mother. I think I would have felt very empty, lonely, sad and depressed if I failed to have kids.
What kind of fertility treatment did you receive?
Ovulation induction with artificial insemination and I had this for both kids. It involved injecting myself daily, lots of visits to the fertility centre and lots of blood tests. Even though I have a fear of syringes and don't like looking at them I did not find it hard to inject myself as I was so determined to fall pregnant. I would have done anything to fall pregnant.
The treatment was extremely stressful the first time as I did not know whether the medication would stimulate my ovaries enough and the process was mentally exhausting as you have to have your hormonal levels constantly monitored. Then you get to the stage where your hormone levels are at a good level but then you worry whether or not you have a good sized follicle and if your uterus is ready for conception. Lots of highs and lows during treatment. The second time I went through treatment I was stressed that I wouldn't fall pregnant a second time and that Alex would have to grow up without having a sibling which made me feel very sad.