The number of test-tube babies born in Japan totaled 100,189 as of the end of 2002, according to a report released Thursday by an obstetrics association that began recording data in 1986.

The number of test-tube babies born in 2002 was 15,223, up 15.7 percent from the previous year, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology said in the survey.

The 2002 test-tube newborns accounted for 1.3 percent of the 1.15 million babies born that year, the report says.

According to the survey, 578 medical institutions provided in vitro fertilization in 2002.

The rate of successful IVF and embryo transfer was 28.9 percent in 2002, and the rate of multiple births was 17.3 percent.

Harumi Kubo, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at Toho University and head of the study, said the number of test-tube babies is expected to continue to increase.

He attributed the rise in test-tube babies to increases in the number of clinics offering IVF and municipal government subsidies to cover the procedure.

The subsidy programs differ between municipalities, but last year the central government began a program to give couples trying in vitro fertilization 100,000 yen a year to cover medical costs.

Observers have pointed out that as in vitro fertilization becomes more widespread, quality medical care must be maintained.

Some clinics offering IVF have not been following the rules set out by the obstetrics association.

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