When a couple is trying to get pregnant, but not finding much luck with the process, it is often quite stressful. At a time like this, while assisted methods such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can help, it is also suggested that the couple seeks timely intervention. IVF can be life-changing for many, but is often shrouded in several myths. With World IVF Day around the corner on 25th July, 2022, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. C. Geetha Haripriya, MD., DGO., FRCOG (Lon), Advanced Dip. in ART & Reproductive Medicine (KIEL, Germany), Chairperson, Prashanth Fertility Research Centre, Chennai, to know about the myths and facts related to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Myth : IVF always leads to multiple babies
If IVF is done as per guidelines, there is only a 20 percent chance of a multiple pregnancy as the number of embryos that are transferred should generally be restricted. But, in cases where the age of the woman is advanced or if there is a history of repeated failures, it is advisable to transfer 3 embryos.
Myth : An IVF baby has a higher risk of birth defects
The fact is that IVF procedure does not increase the risk of congenital birth defects in the baby. In fact, it helps parents in getting pre-implantation genetic testing of the embryo to eliminate the risks of the newborn having any congenital anomalies or chromosomal defects in risk cases with a greater risk. These include cases when the age of the woman is over 40 years of age or where there is a family history of genetic disorders.
Myth : IVF increases your risk of cancer
There is no proven relationship between cancer and IVF in any studies or medical research. Women can try for a rational number of attempts of fertility treatments without having a higher risk of cancer. Moreover, there is no cancer risk for the unborn child as well, even in adulthood.
Myth : One IVF failure means no chances of success for life
If a couple has gone through an unsuccessful IVF cycle due to any reason, it does not mean that there is no chance of pregnancy forever. It is important to know why it happened and alter the treatment for success in future trials. There have been several cases in the past where patients have conceived after 4-5 IVF cycles, when they were given recommended procedures such as laser assisted hatching, pre implantation genetic testing or inducing platelet rich plasma into the uterine cavity or modifying the diet by loading antioxidants if the case requirement is as such.
Myth : Infertility leads to problems with the woman’s reproductive system
It is a common misconception that infertility can cause problems in the female reproductive system, but only 35 percent of infertility cases are reported due to female factors. Another 35 percent is caused by the male reproductive system, 20 percent is because of both, while the remaining 10 percent is still undetermined.
Myth : IVF has a 100 percent success rate and it can treat all infertility problems
The success rate of IVF is about 60 – 80 percent in couples below the age of 35. Moreover, the success rate of IVF is based on many factors including age, cause of infertility, and biological and hormonal problems. The high success rates are possible because of high technologies like embryoscope, IMSI, Laser hatching, embryo glue etc. There are several assisted reproductive procedures like ovulation induction (OI) with medicines, intrauterine insemination (IUI) etc, which can help couples in conceiving and IVF is one of them.
Myth : Only infertile couples can opt for IVF
It is a common myth that a couple can only opt for IVF if they are infertile, which is not true. IVF is surely a procedure which helps a woman who can’t conceive naturally, but women don’t have to be infertile to choose this fertility method. Couples can opt for IVF if either of the partners has a genetic condition that can affect the baby’s health. Using the laser, a few cells can be taken for genetic testing and this way termination of pregnancy because of genetic problems can be prevented.
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