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Free IVF Linked to Birth Rate Rise in European Countries
Access to free fertility treatment has a small but positive effect on national birth rates, a European study has shown. The finding could have important policy implications in the EU where there is increasing concern over shrinking families. A lifetime average of 2.1 live births per woman is needed to replace the EU's population with adequate numbers of babies, according to experts. Scientists assessed the reimbursement policies of 23 European countries and found a "significant relationship" between reimbursement levels and the annual contribution of assisted reproduction technology (ART) to national birth numbers. Greater access to free in vitro fertilization led to fertility treatment making a bigger impact on national birth statistics.