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Myths and Misconceptions About IVF

Since the introduction of IVF or in vitro fertilization technique in the late 1970s millions of couples have been given the miracle that they would have otherwise never hoped for. However, with the popularization of IVF is there has been a steady growth of attached myths and misconceptions. These have not only plagued the understanding of the procedure but also deter many more possible recipients who are unclear or suspicious of the procedure or the one making it happen. A lot of these arise from a dearth of clear understanding about the procedure but a small amount can also be attributed to the attached stigma of not being able to conceive unassisted. As the understanding of the procedure develops, many of the scare-stories automatically get dashed. However, there are some that have persisted. The following are few of the many popular myths surrounding the IVF technique:

  • IVF can make everyone fertile: IVF is one of several and not the all encompassing range of available techniques when it comes to treating infertility. Some others like Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) are differentially useful and successful.
  • IVF is flawless and foolproof: The overall success rate ranges for 40-45% and depends of a spectrum of conditions like health, hormonal balance etc. A healthy embryo in the lab has to undergo several stages to be successfully implanted. Post implantation also, there may be different causes and factors that can still derail the pregnancy. This is the reason why many go for multiple embryos for transplantation to help boost the chances of implantation.
  • IVF is dangerous and leads to abnormalities in the children: The unpredictability of how the baby is born is not exclusive to IVF and it suffers from same level of uncertainty as in a naturally born child. It is almost 98% safe with minimal threat to quality of life. There many some effects like over sensitivity of breasts, fatigue, spotting, muscular cramping etc. but these are not extraordinary to being expectant.
  • IVF donors may run out of ovarian reserves: At the start of every ovarian cycle, your body regenerates the required amount of eggs to give them the best possible odds of fertilization irrespective of how many eggs ones donate for IVF.
  • IVF leads to ovarian cancer: Ovarian stimulation in the donors is declared safe with no cases of cancer growth due to intake of gonadotroins. There is no research that links fertility drugs to the development of endometrial or ovarian cancer.
  • IVF leads to uncontrolled hyper-stimulation and twins, triplets etc: IVF is the only procedure that controls the number of embryos being transplanted. However, as a lot of women cannot afford to go through multiples cycles they opt for more number of embryos to be transferred and transplanted. It can lead to multiple gestations. But the number of embryos is a matter of choice, not compulsion.
  • Age appropriateness to the procedure: Contrary to popular perception, the procedure is also effective in mature and post-menstrual women.