It’s been about forty years since the world’s first test-tube baby was born through in-vitro fertilization or the IVF procedure. From then until now, more than 5 million IVF babies have been born into this world, safe and healthy.
Over the past few years, the number of parents opting for IVF has gone up. Many of them being same-sex couples and single parents. The assistance of surrogates, too, has seen a rise as many people who find it difficult to conceive normally, may utilize IVF and surrogate pregnancies to have a child.
However, despite the success ratio of the IVF procedure, many myths surround this assisted conception technique. There is also a certain amount of stigma or societal pressure surrounding it. This breeds a lot of misconceptions and wrong knowledge about the procedure.
Some of the more common myths regarding IVF are explored below.
IVF is too Expensive
No, IVF is not reserved for the rich. It does not weigh as heavily on the pocket as is perceived.
While it may not be classified as an inexpensive technique, it is certainly a lot cheaper than many other surgeries and procedures. What is important to note is that while it was a highly-priced procedure until a few years ago, the cost has not increased much off late. On average, IVF may cost about two lakhs. Not particularly cheap but definitely not as expensive as 3-4 lakhs like it used to be.
IVF Guarantees Success
Before you and your doctor decide to pursue IVF, it is necessary to understand the cause behind it. There could be many reasons that can have an impact on pregnancy, such as, hormonal imbalances, age, fertility issues, and other biological factors. Only once the cause is ascertained, should one go ahead with the procedure. This is because in case the issue at hand is age or fertility, IVF may not guarantee 100% success. It is important to keep in mind here that only about 40% of couples below the age of 35 find success with the procedure. Therefore it is a myth that everyone who uses IVF is successful and has a baby. However, with the correct medical intervention, it is possible to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
IUI and IVF are the Only Fertility Options
Before you jump the gun and sign up for IUI or IVF, speak to your doctor about other recourses. Dealing with infertility can take a huge toll on your emotional well-being. Add to the pressures of undergoing a procedure, and most couples find themselves utterly stressed out.
It is a myth that IUI and IVF are the only options for couples struggling with infertility. Once the cause of infertility is determined, it is possible to explore other options such as fertility drugs, donor eggs or donor sperm, Altruistic Surrogacy, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and many others.
It is important that the success rate of each procedure, the pros, and the cons are all duly considered before deciding between IUI, IVF or any other form of fertility treatment.
While this has been a kind of “side-effect” of IVF in the past, in recent time, thanks to improved scientific developments, the chances of multiple births has been on the decline. The myth that “you will have twins” with IVF is not very true anymore.
A chance of multiple births, as a result of IVF, is a myth, and it does not necessarily have to be true. A higher success ratio without the risk of multiple births to mother and child debunks the myth surrounding IVF.
Age is No Factor
A prevailing myth surrounding IVF is that you don’t need to worry about your age; there’s always IVF. While there are several cases where women in their forties have also had successful IVF procedures, the numbers aren’t as high as for those under 35 years of age.
Of course, IVF does grant more freedom of choice. However, it is important to keep in mind that age is a factor in infertility. In the case of older men or women, donor eggs or donor sperm can also be used to have a child.
It is a myth that if you already have a kid, you don’t need to worry about fertility, thanks to IVF. Many couples who have one child find it difficult to get pregnant a second time. The reasons vary from age, low sperm count, PCOS, lifestyle issues, weight and so on. While IVF does offer hope for people over the age of 35 and women in the forties, the success ratio isn’t too high. Besides, the reason for secondary infertility has to be diagnosed first before ascertaining if IVF is the best course of action or if there are other ways to get pregnant.
Yes, Weight Matters
Just like age, your weight also impacts your fertility. It is not like your weight doesn’t mean IVF won’t work. While there is no clear evidence linking weight and IVF, there is proof that obesity reduces the chances of success. Not only that, but higher weight also increases the chances of a miscarriage.
Birth Defects and Other Abnormalities
Assisted Reproductive Technique or ART includes several procedures such as IUI or IVF. There is a growing rise in demand for such procedures owing to various reasons. But a very popular misconception is that babies conceived through ART will have problems such as birth defects, low birth weight, and developmental delays. In reality, the chances of a child suffering from any of these are just as high or low among children conceived normally. Foetal anomalies are at an equal risk among children from the general population and those born through ART.
There are several challenges with regards to IVF treatments; social perception being one of them. Hardly 10% or 20% of people are frank about it. This is strange given the growing number of people who go for such treatments.
The lack of shared knowledge about ART leads to a growth of myths and misconceptions surrounding the treatments. In order, for a couple, to make the best choice for themselves and their babies, the myths need to be debunked and scientific truth to prevail.