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    in vitro fertilisation (ivf)

    Common Myths and Facts About IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

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    • 4.5   (1 Votes)

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has its fair share of myths. Some people see IVF or Test Tube Baby as an expensive treatment that only rich people can afford. To some, IVF always results in twins and triplets. In this article, find prevalent myths surrounding IVF and contrasting facts that dispel these myths.

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is referred to a complex series of procedures which are used for treating fertility problems which come in way of conceiving a child. As part of the IVF treatment, mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. After that, the fertilized embryos are implanted in the uterus. Each cycle of IVF takes about two weeks to be completed and it is considered to be one of the most effective forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

    However, there are many factors, which affect the chances of having a healthy baby through IVF. Age and cause of infertility are factors, which affect the chances of successful IVF. So in order to have better clarity about successful IVF, here are some facts surrounding it. 

    Myths and Facts Surrounding IVF

    1. Myth: Lifestyle Modifications Can Improve Success Rate Of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

    Fact: If you begin exercising, have a better diet, maintain an active lifestyle and give up on sedentary lifestyle habits like drinking or smoking, it is not necessary that your IVF will be successful. Poor nutrition does affect your fertility. Women with BMI (body mass index) above 30 or those who are underweight might also face difficulty in conceiving a baby. However, one lifestyle modification, which can actually help in increasing the success rate of IVF, is taking proper sleep. Research says that women who take 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night are more likely to have successful IVF.

    2. Myth: IVF requires being admitted to a hospital and take complete bed rest during and after the treatment

    Fact: Only the egg collection procedure in IVF requires the patient to stay in the hospital for a day. Staying overnight in the hospital is not necessary for IVF. In fact, outcomes of IVF might turn out to be better even without taking bed rest.

    3. Myth: You have no control in making an IVF cycle successful

    Fact: This is not true. Doctors can evaluate the success rate of IVF through a number of procedures. Women who have a good ovarian reserve are more likely to have a successful IVF cycle. Women also need to know if their uterus is prepared for implantation. Fibroids, polyps and scar tissues in the uterine cavity are checked through ultrasounds and x-rays in order to see if implantation can be done or not. Fallopian tubes should be clear, without any fluid as this reduces the success rate of IVF. Semen analysis and sperm count are also seen before going ahead with the IVF cycle. (1)

    Myths and Facts Surrounding IVF

    4. Myth: IVF is one of the best solution for patients with an infertility problem. 

    Fact: There are many options for couples experiencing infertility. Treatment protocols are tailored to each couple and are dependent on factors like how long a couple has been trying to get pregnant, the age factor and the results of testing. For example, a woman may have a problem with her thyroid gland that causes her not to ovulate; treating with thyroid hormone can restore ovulation allowing for pregnancy. In case a man shows decreased motility after a semen analysis, IUI, with or without medication, may be the best treatment option for that person. If a woman does not ovulate, medication to cause ovulation would be the most appropriate treatment; artificial insemination may not be necessary at all. Women with blocked tubes are probably best treated with IVF, though surgery may also be an option. The treatment approach may be more aggressive in a woman approaching 40 years or for a couple who has been struggling with infertility for several years. Treatment plans are individualized, there are several alternatives and there should not be a one size fits all approach. (2)

    5. Myths: The Success Rate of IVF is very high and can be conceived in the very first cycle.

    Fact: IVF is successful in up to 40% of cases. Some may need one to two cycles to conceive. Success depends on the number of factors like the age of the female, the reason for infertility, biological and hormonal reasons, the center of expertise, etc. (3)

    6. Myths: IVF treatment is covered by insurance.

    Fact: Many insurance companies do offer coverage for the various stages of the evaluation and treatment of infertility; exactly what is covered often varies from policy to policy and from insurer to insurer. Some insurers will only cover the examination and testing to determine the cause of infertility, while others may cover treatment and medications. The kind of treatment that is covered also varies, for example, some policies may cover intrauterine insemination (IUI) when used in conjunction with medication to boost ovulation, but may not cover cost of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) whereas others may cover both. In addition, 15 states in US alone require that insurers include infertility benefits in their policies, though what is covered also varies from state to state. As a result, it is important to study the policy to determine if and to what extent, one may be covered. Many fertility practices have financial counselors to help couples through this, to answer their questions about their insurance benefits and to work with the insurer to determine what is covered. (4) 

    7. Myths: Babies conceived through IVF may have a higher chance of birth defects, low birth weight or developmental delays.

    Fact: The absolute risk of delivering an IVF baby with malformations is very low. The risk of having an anomalous fetus in spontaneous or IVF babies is the same as in general population. (5) Children conceived naturally to couples who have never struggled with infertility have a 3 percent to 5 percent risk of birth defects and a 1 percent to 2 percent likelihood of experiencing developmental delays. Women experiencing infertility may be at a slightly higher risk of pregnancycomplications. Pregnancy-related complications are increased with ovarian stimulation, though this can be largely attributed to risks associated with multiple pregnancies. Babies born from IVF may be a little smaller than those conceived naturally, though still they are typically in the normal range. According to recent studies have not found an increased risk of birth defects in babies conceived with IVF. (6)

    8. Myth: IVF is for women only

    Fact: This is false. In fact, there are several techniques such as ICSI, IMSI and PICSI designed to help situations when a man is suffering from low sperm count or poor sperm motility. There are situations where the woman is fine and the factor causing infertility is in the man such as male factor infertility. 

    9. Myth: IVF is really expensive; it is only for the rich

    Fact: IVF is affordable and cost should not be a deterrent. Couples can save towards IVF in the same way they would save for other capital-intensive projects. Some clinics have the option of payment in installments and in some countries; there is some form of insurance coverage for IVF. (7)

    10. Myth: Infertility treatment is very stressful.

    Fact: Stress sometimes contributes to the cause of infertility. While stress does not contribute to infertility, infertility most definitely causes stress. Infertile women report higher levels of anxiety and stress than fertile women and there is some indication that infertile women are more likely to become depressed. This is not surprising since the far-reaching effects of infertility can interfere with work, family, sex and money. Finding ways to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety can make you feel better. (8)

    Being pregnant while older is harmful

    11. Myth: Donating eggs will deplete them

    Fact: During menarche, a girl has over 400,000 eggs, out of which only 400 are required in an entire lifetime. Every month about 20 of these eggs are mobilized and only one or two grow to the point of being released during ovulation. About 18 or 19 of the remaining eggs die. IVF treatment helps in sustaining the growth of these remaining eggs. Therefore, there is no chance of eggs getting finished through donation for In Vitro Fertilization. (9)

    12. Myth: IVF pregnancies result in cesarean births

    Fact: IVF pregnancies are just like naturally conceived ones and not an indication for cesarean section. Couples who have tried to conceive for many years or those with higher chances of multiple pregnancies can opt for elective cesarean delivery. A very normal vaginal delivery is possible following IVF. (9)

    13. Myth: Being pregnant while older is harmful

    Fact: Doctors sometimes worry about high rates of complications with pregnancy in older women. Older mothers do have higher rates of a number of medical problems during pregnancy, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature labor. According to one study, around 80 percent of women aged over 45 had no major medical problems during pregnancy and more than 80 percent gave birth at full term. Women should be aware of those risks of complications and to take them into account when making decisions about whether or not to become pregnant through IVF. For women without major health problems already, the risks of pregnancy are not so high that they cannot go ahead. 

    14. Myth: IVF does not work in older women

    Fact: The live birth rate following IVF in women over the age of 44 is only 2 percent. The ‘Success Rates’ are based on IVF treatment with the woman’s own eggs. For women who receive donor eggs or embryos, the chances of live birth are based on the donor’s age and not on that of the recipient. If the egg donor is young, older women have the same sort of chances of success with IVF as younger women. Donor eggs also avoid the increased risks of major chromosomal problems in the baby for example Down syndrome that is seen in older mothers. (10)

    Though it may not be the first line of treatment for infertility, IVF is definitely a boon for couples battling age and other factors that prevent them from having a baby at the right time. The need of the hour is to dispel the myths surrounding this procedure so that the couples who are either contemplating or going through the IVF process find some reassurance.

    Call Elawoman at +918929020600 to set up a consultation with a physician who can help you create a plan for parenthood. Trying to get pregnant? Follow Elawoman experts advice to side-step potential problems to boost your chances of conception.

    1 Comment

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    Lekh Sangappa

    March 20, 2019, 12:45 p.m. 4.5

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    It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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