IVF Truth and Myths That All Future Parents Should Know
Although artificial insemination has been known to medicine for over 4 years, there are still many things we don’t know about it. As a result, there are very many myths circulating around the procedure. Only professionals know where the truth is.
Bright Side decided to successfully challenge the most widespread myths about IVF and tell the readers some interesting facts about modern reproductive technologies.
1. IVF is test-tube fertilization.
Contrary to popular belief, artificial insemination isn’t performed in a test tube, but in a Petri dish.
2. After IVF, babies are born weak and sickly.
It’s another myth that doesn’t have any solid ground. Firstly, only the strongest embryos are chosen for the procedure and they later develop into healthy babies. Secondly, IVF isn’t a cheap procedure; therefore, such babies will be born in wealthy families. They’ll be provided with prompt and good health care.
3. Future parents can choose a baby’s sex.
That’s not completely true. Any IVF procedure follows strict protocols that are obligatory for all doctors. The only case when the parents are allowed to choose a baby’s sex is when one of the parents risks transferring a gender-based genetic disease to a baby.
4. IVF always ends up in a multifetal pregnancy.
It’s a myth. However, multifetal pregnancy occurs more often after artificial conception than after a natural one. This is due to the fact that doctors usually use 2 or 3 embryos instead of just one. It increases the chances that at least one of them will be viable. As a result, multifetal pregnancy occurs more frequently among women after IVF.
5. Fallopian tubes are removed for IVF
On the contrary, the absence of the fallopian tubes is a sign that a woman needs to have IVF performed.
6. Now any woman is able to know the joy of motherhood at any age.
IVF does help women over 40 get pregnant. However, it doesn’t mean that pregnancy at this age would be as easy as when you’re in your 20s. In fact, the younger a woman is, the more chances she has to become pregnant. This rule applies to both natural and artificial inseminations. IVF isn’t used for family planning at an elder age but to solve the problem of natural conception.
7. Babies born by IVF are infertile.
Another unjustifiable myth. The only reason such people have to use IVF themselves is connected to hereditary diseases of the reproductive system.
8. IVF is an indication for Caesarean section operations.
Yet another myth of our times. There are a lot of indications for Cesarean section operations, but IVF isn’t on this list. The decision regarding the necessity of such an operation depends on the doctors in a hospital and is performed only when needed.
9. A woman needs immediate bed rest after the transfer.
That’s also a myth. Doctors’ opinion is firm on this matter: a pregnant woman, regardless of the techniques of conception, should be active. If the pregnancy is going well, it’s recommended to exercise. The better blood circulation she has, the better a fetus will develop.
10. It’s a painful procedure.
The only painful thing about IVF is the follicular puncture (egg collection) that is performed using a special thin needle. The embryo transfer is completely pain-free.
11. Success on the very first try.
The statistics of the effectiveness of the first procedure varies between countries; 30% of women get pregnant after the first try.
12. IVF cures infertility.
It’s not true. In fact, IVF helps people avoid problems with impregnation but doesn’t cure any diseases. The infertility treatment begins long before the artificial insemination; if it doesn’t bring any positive results, your doctor might recommend that you go to a reproductive clinic.
1. You can freeze oocytes for future use.
If you want to postpone having children but are concerned about the quality of oocytes (sperm and eggs), you can freeze them and preserve them for decades. This is particularly important for people whose work involves harmful conditions or those who undergo a course of aggressive treatment (chemotherapy, for example.)
Besides, people over the age of 35 are recommended to check the quality of oocytes and freeze sperm and eggs if necessary.
2. 8 million babies were born thanks to IVF.
According to statistics, almost 8 million IVF people were born. Just imagine, 8 million babies had a chance to be born thanks to medicine. It’s more than the whole population of Denmark.
3. The oldest mother in the world used IVF to get pregnant.
Rajo Devi, the oldest mother in the world, is 75 years old. Her first-born daughter, Naveen, is 5 years old. Rajo lives in a small village in India. She and her husband have been trying to get pregnant since the beginning of their marriage; Rajo was only 12 years old. However, all their attempts failed and only recently, they turned to the services of modern medicine.
Rajo gave birth at the age of 70 after her first IVF procedure. The baby’s delivery was really complicated due to the mother’s age but thanks to modern medicine, everything turned out all right. Given that the average female life expectancy in India is 68 years old, giving birth at the age of 70 is a true miracle.
However, it’s hard to be sure about Rajo’s real age since people in small villages rarely register to have a baby and many people don’t know their factual age. Presumably, Rajo didn’t tell her real age in the clinic because women over 50 are denied when it comes to having the IVF procedure done.
4. IVF isn’t easy. In 9 months:
The IVF procedure isn’t as dangerous as it might seem. However, it’s hard: the preparation for IVF includes hormonal therapy that prepares a woman’s body for the future pregnancy.
Besides, to get more than one egg (during a normal cycle) hormonal therapy is used for the prompt maturing of the eggs. After that, eggs are collected with a thin needle. It’s the only step that might be dangerous — an individual’s body reactions are different and hormonal stimulation might lead to certain complications.
5. IVF could be free.
Almost every government provides people with annual quotas for IVF. In most cases, only one or 2 attempts are paid for; parents pay for the preparation. However, this step is a great help for families who have trouble getting pregnant.
6. The first IVF baby grew up to be healthy and happy.
The first baby conceived using reproductive technologies was born in the UK. The girl was named Louise; she was born by Cesarean section. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to get pregnant for many years. Devastated that they couldn’t conceive a child, they agreed to undergo an experimental treatment that was offered to them by their doctor — IVF.
The first IVF procedure was kept hidden from the public, but the press found out about it anyway and followed Lesley during the whole course of her pregnancy. According to her, she received a lot of threatening letters: society had quite a strong reaction to artificial insemination.
After several years, Lesley came to the clinic to have another IVF baby. She had a girl, Natalie.
Bonus: all debates about IVF get overshadowed by happy parenting and a new life growing inside a happy mother.
“6 years, 3 IUI cycles, 6 IVF attempts, 3 miscarriages, one chemical pregnancy, one late-term baby loss, $100,000+ in medical bills, thousands of injections, 9 months of stress and worry, 30+ hours of labor, emergency C-section...Worth it. This is my son Lincoln.”