When a couple is trying to get pregnant without result, there is already a lot of stress to realise the dream of becoming parents. At a time like this, while assisted methods like In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can help, it is also advised that the couple seek timely intervention as that is the main essence. Since there are always myths attached to new things, there are to the IVF treatment as well. We have three experts who bust these myths associated with IVF.
Myth: A woman needs to give enough time to herself for natural conception before planning fertility treatment.
Fact: While this stands true for younger women, waiting for nature to take its course is not recommended for women of all age groups. If a woman belongs to a higher age group, getting pregnant is a difficult task. Hence, when a couple decides on fertility, they should also take the age of the woman into consideration. If a woman is on the older side, then the couple should not wait for too long and plan pregnancy under medical guidance. It is imperative for a couple to seek help in a timely manner to ensure the best possible outcome.
Myth: Infertility is almost always caused by problems with the woman’s reproductive system.
Fact: It’s common for people to think of infertility as a female problem, but only 35 per cent of infertility cases are caused solely by female factors. Another 35 per cent results from factors in the male reproductive system, 20 per cent come from both and 10 per cent is undetermined.
Myth:IVF has a 100 per cent success rate and IVF can resolve all infertility issues.
Fact: Not true. The success rate of IVF is about 40 per cent in couples below the age of 35. Also, the success rate of IVF depends on several factors such as age, cause of infertility, and biological and hormonal conditions. There are many assisted reproductive procedures such as ovulation induction (OI) with medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI) etc, which can help couples conceive. IVF is just one of them.
Myth:IVF is only for infertile couples.
Fact: Although IVF is often used to help a woman who otherwise can’t conceive, women don’t have to be infertile to benefit from IVF. Couples might choose IVF if either of the partners has a genetic disorder that could affect the baby’s health and longevity. Using their own eggs and sperm, embryos are created in the lab that can be tested for genetic problems. Doctors transfer healthy embryos.
Myth:You can do IVF at any age.
Fact: As a woman ages, her reproductive system does too. Even with IVF, she may not be able to produce enough eggs to create a healthy embryo. Or her uterus may be too weak to carry a child to term. Other factors also control how likely you are to succeed with IVF. Some couples have challenges that make it more likely that they’d need to undergo multiple cycles of IVF. As with natural conception, there’s no guarantee that IVF will work. Your doctors explain your chances of success based on you and your partner’s age and health.
Myth:IVF is a painful procedure.
Fact: Two weeks of injections are needed for IVF to produce several eggs that can be extracted. That is the only painful part of IVF. The injections hurt about as much as any other vaccine injection. If the eggs are ready, they are removed from the body by an egg retrieval procedure performed under anesthesia or light sedation. So, the woman does not experience any pain. Since the embryo implantation procedure (placing the embryo into the mother’s womb) is not painful, it is performed without anesthesia.
Myth:IVF increases the risk of developing cancer in women.
Fact: There is no clinical evidence that IVF or any other type of infertility treatment raises breast or ovarian cancer risk. The medications commonly used to produce multiple mature eggs induce progesterone and estrogen level fluctuations, perpetuating this IVF myth. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, IVF patients have the same risk of breast cancer as the general public. The same holds true in the case of ovarian cancer. However, it is clear that having female factor infertility increases the risk of ovarian cancer, but this is true regardless of whether you receive infertility treatment.
Myth:IVF babies are different from babies conceived the natural way.
Fact: When the first IVF baby was created in a petri dish, the world observed the creation of the scientific miracle. Many even assumed (and still do think) that IVF babies are different than others. This holds no truth. The only difference that lies between the two is the way they are conceived. In fact, IVF babies are just as healthy and adorable as other babies.
Myth:IVF doesn’t work for obese people.
Fact: Obesity is considered to be one of the biggest problems when a woman tries to conceive naturally or through IVF. It is a big myth that IVF only works for people who have a healthy body shape and BMI. Women, irrespective of their weight, stand a chance to get pregnant. According to doctors, BMI, obesity has no effect on the fertilisation process. Although, unhealthy body charts may lower egg count in some women. Still, there is no denying that IVF is prejudiced against obese women.
Myth:IVF is only for the well off.
Fact: Many couples from upper middle class or middle class, or even service class avoid IVF treatment just because they believe it is not for all, but only meant for the rich and upper class. Considering IVF treatment as expensive, they do not even prefer visiting an IVF centre for consultation at all. Well, the reality is not as many believe. IVF is certainly a bit expensive, however, it is lower in cost than many other existing surgical treatments of infertility. It accompanies some expenses which have not increased for many years.
Myth:IVF requires complete bed rest.
Fact: Most couples undergoing IVF treatment ask this question. Working women can come for ovum pick and return to work the same day or next day itself. Women can continue normal activities and work within one to three days of transfer and keep on working throughout pregnancy. There is no need to treat an IVF pregnancy any different from a natural pregnancy. You don’t need to restrict yourself to bed after the embryo transfer. However, that said, a certain amount of care is advised in any normal pregnancy and that needs to be followed. Avoid lifting heavy objects and excessive physical exertion. You can take up pregnancy yoga to strengthen the body and prepare for delivery.
Myth:IVF is never successful at first try.
Fact: The success rate of the IVF depends on many factors like woman’s age, quality of eggs, sperms and the resulting embryo (developing lives) formed. Tubal factors and uterine conditions determine implantation chances as well as the overall health of the woman’s body to carry out the pregnancy.
Despite the fact that it is difficult to predict if a woman will succeed in the first try or will require a few attempts, results demonstrate that on an average 70 per cent of IVF cases conceive in the first attempt.