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Facts & Myths around IVF: A Comprehensive Guide

ivf-myths-and-facts

Understanding IVF – The Basics:

IVF is a process where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus.

IVF is a part of assisted reproductive technology (ART) which has evolved significantly over the years, improving success rates and making the procedure safer and more effective.

Debunking Myths – Setting the Record Straight:

  • Myth 1: IVF is always successful.
  • Fact: While IVF can significantly increase chances of pregnancy, it is not always successful. Success rates vary depending on factors such as age, fertility issues, and the quality of eggs and sperm .
  • Myth 2: IVF is the only way to conceive if experiencing infertility.
  • Fact: IVF is one of many fertility treatments available. Other options include fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and surgery .
  • Myth 3: IVF always results in twins or multiples.
  • Fact: The chance of having multiples is higher with IVF due to the transfer of more than one embryo. However, single embryo transfers are becoming more common to reduce this risk.
  • Myth 4: IVF increases health risks for your baby.
  • Fact: Most babies conceived through IVF are healthy. While there is a slightly increased risk of birth defects with IVF, the overall risk remains low.
  • Myth 5: IVF increases your risk of health problems.
  • Fact: The most common side effects of IVF are minor and include bloating, mild cramping, and constipation. Serious complications are rare .
  • Myth 6: Eating pineapple will improve IVF outcomes.
  • Fact: There is no scientific evidence that eating pineapple or any other specific food will improve IVF outcomes
  • Myth 7: Babies born through IVF have health and developmental problems.
  • Fact: Most children conceived through IVF develop normally. While there may be a slight increase in the risk of certain conditions, the overall risk remains low.
  • Myth 8: IVF takes away eggs that you would otherwise have and diminishes your reserve.
  • Fact: IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs in a single cycle. This does not deplete the overall egg reserve
  • Myth 9: Ovarian stimulation causes cancer.
  • Fact: Current research does not support a direct link between ovarian stimulation for IVF and increased risk of ovarian cancer.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Being an complex fertility procedure, it as important to understand the process, possible risks and complications and tips for Success before going for the procedure. 

 

  • Myth 10: IVF is never successful at the first attempt.
  • Fact: Many people achieve success on their first IVF cycle, but success rates vary widely and depend on individual circumstances
  • Myth 11: Age doesn’t matter for IVF success.
  • Fact: Age is an essential factor in IVF success. Women under 35 generally have higher success rates
  • Myth 12: If IVF fails once, it will never work.
  • Fact: Many people who don’t succeed on their first IVF cycle do achieve success in subsequent cycles
  • Myth 13: IVF leads to cancer.
  • Fact: There’s no conclusive evidence linking IVF treatments to an increased risk of breast or ovarian cance.
  • Myth 14: IVF is too costly for most people.
  • Fact: While IVF can be expensive, many clinics offer financing options, and some insurance plans provide coverage for fertility treatments .
  • Myth 15: IVF guarantees a baby
  • Fact: While IVF increases the chances of pregnancy, it doesn’t guarantee a baby. Success rates vary greatly depending on factors such as age, fertility issues, and lifestyle habits .
  • Myth 16: IVF is more likely to result in a girl.
  • Fact: The sex of the baby is determined by the sperm, and IVF does not influence this .
  • Myth 17: IVF is only for women with blocked tubes.

  • Fact: IVF can help with many types of infertility, including male factor infertility, unexplained infertility, and ovulatory disorders .

  • Myth 18: Stress causes IVF failure.

  • Fact: While high levels of stress can negatively impact overall health, there’s no definitive evidence that stress directly causes IVF failure .

Understanding Common Concerns, Questions, and Evidence-Based Insights:

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure that has helped many couples around the world achieve their dream of parenthood. However, it is also a complex procedure that can be accompanied by a number of questions and concerns.

Let’s address a few common queries about IVF, providing evidence-based insights and experiences to assuage these concerns.

  • IVF is too expensive for most people:
    While IVF can be costly, many clinics offer financial plans and options to help manage the cost. Plus, some insurance companies provide coverage for fertility treatments.
  • IVF is physically and emotionally taxing:
    IVF can indeed be a challenging journey. That’s why emotional support, whether from counselling, support groups, or loved ones, is crucial during this process.
  • What does the procedure of IVF involve?
    IVF involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside the body in a laboratory. The resulting embryo(s) are then transferred to the uterus. Understanding each step can help individuals feel more prepared and less anxious about the process.
  • How Much Does IVF Really Cost?
    The cost of IVF can vary widely, depending on factors like location, required medications, number of cycles, and insurance coverage. Discussing these costs with your gynaecologist can help manage expectations and budget appropriately. 
    You can read detailed explanation of IVF cost in our blog – Decoding the Cost Factors and Considerations for IVF Treatment in Pune
  • Is genetic testing necessary before IVF?
    Genetic testing can be extremely beneficial, for those couples who are at risk of producing embryos with chromosomal irregularities or recurrent pregnancy loss. It can help identify embryos with chromosomal abnormalities, thus increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.
  • Does IVF increase the likelihood of multiple births?
    While IVF can increase the chance of multiples due to the transfer of more than one embryo, single embryo transfers are becoming increasingly common to reduce this risk. 
    This decision should be discussed with your gynaecologist, considering your specific circumstances. 
    Read more – Twins in IVF: A Detailed Guide For You
  • Are frozen eggs less successful than fresh ones in IVF? Contrary to common belief, recent studies indicate that the success rates with frozen eggs are nearly identical to those with fresh ones. This insight can provide reassurance to individuals who opt for egg freezing.
  • What factors can impact the success of IVF?
    Several factors can influence IVF success rates, including age, lifestyle, reproductive history, and the cause of infertility. 
    Awareness of these factors can help individuals make necessary lifestyle modifications and set realistic expectations. 
    Explore further- Understanding the Success Rate of IVF Treatment
  • What are the associated risks of IVF?
    While IVF is generally safe, it carries some risks, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, and multiple pregnancies.
    Knowing these risks allows individuals to make informed decisions about undergoing the procedure.
  • Is the IVF process painful?
    Some individuals may experience discomfort during certain stages of IVF, such as egg retrieval. However, pain management options are available to ensure comfort. Knowing this can help alleviate fears related to the procedure’s discomfort.
    Discover more – Debunking the Myth: Is IVF Really Painful?

  • What is the success rate of IVF?
    The success of IVF depends on a number of factors, including the age of the woman and any underlying fertility problems
  • How long does the IVF process take?
    Generally, one cycle of IVF takes approximately four to six weeks from start to finish. But this can vary based on individual circumstances.. Understanding the timeline can help people plan their treatment and manage their schedules effectively.
  • Factors Influencing IVF Success:
    The success of IVF is influenced by several factors, including the age and health of the patient, the cause of infertility, and the quality of the embryos. Choosing a reputable fertility clinic in Pune with experienced IVF specialists can also significantly impact your success rate.

Conclusion:

Knowing the truths and clearing up any misconceptions about IVF can help you make knowledgeable choices on your path to fertility. Keep in mind, everyone’s IVF journey is different, and there’s no single solution that fits all in fertility treatments.

Talking to your gynaecologist about your particular situation and options is crucial.

  • About Author

    Dr. Supriya Puranik

    Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist

Often known as the last glimmer of hope for people who have lost all hope for conceiving a child, Dr. Supriya Puranik is a leading gynaecologist, high risk obstetrician and Head of IVF & Gynaecology department at Ankura Hospital for Women & Children.

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