In recent times, there have been a lot of studies done on the effects of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This is primarily because the popularity of this method has led to a lot of speculation and hearsay in the public, regarding its effects. In this guide, we are going to bust some of those myths and misconceptions about this artificial reproductive technology.
What is IVF?
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In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART), in which eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries and are then artificially combined with the sperm in a lab for fertilization. Later, after the eggs are fertilized into embryos, they are placed back inside the uterus. Pregnancy occurs when this embryo implants itself into the uterine wall.
People go for IVF treatment for a variety of reasons. Some of them are:
Blocked fallopian tubes: The passage for sperm to get to the eggs is blocked due to fluid build-up and dilation of the tube at its end. It creates obstruction in the formation of embryos.
Endometriosis: This occurs when tissues similar to those along the lining of your uterus grow outside it. This irregularity is painful and creates difficulty in getting pregnant.
Low sperm count: Is a condition where a man has lower than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen which is inadequate to fertilize an egg.
Uterine fibroids: Is the non-cancerous growth on the woman’s uterus during the childbearing years of a woman. More than often the studies have shown that women with this condition experience preterm labour and miscarriages.
How safe is IVF?
Most people who go under IVF treatments experience no health problems during their pregnancy and deliver a healthy child.
Common myths and misconceptions about IVF treatment
Myth 1: It always leads to multiple pregnancies
While cases of multiple pregnancies were reported in their early days due to the practice of transferring more than one embryo at a time in an IVF cycle in the hope of achieving a better chance of success. The same is not true anyway. Since its inception (The first in vitro fertilization birth took place in 1978), IVF procedures have undergone several changes, making them more nuanced and targeted. As a result of this, multiple births are avoided by implanting only a single healthy embryo following a highly nuanced procedure.
Myth 2: Single IVF failures spoil your chances of success forever
If a couple has failed to conceive after an IVF cycle for some reason, this does not mean they can never get pregnant. There have been many cases where patients have conceived after 4-5 IVF cycles, with recommended procedures like laser-assisted hatching, microfluidics, pre-implantation genetic testing or injecting platelet-rich plasma into the uterine cavity or even supplementing the diet with antioxidants as per the need of the case.
Myth 3: IVF results in abnormal babies
This is a commonly held misconception about IVF births. Know that an embryo is implanted only after genetic tests and only after ascertaining its normality. Before implantation of the embryo, genetic problems are addressed using preimplantation genetic screening (PGS).
According to a US study conducted in 2010, slightly more than 4% of babies born via assisted reproductive technology such as IVF may have major birth defects, but these risks are not much different from what would be expected in the general population.
IVF leads to hormonal problems later in life
While some side effects of the medication are not ruled out, medical researchers are unanimous in their opinion that IVF treatments don’t result in hormonal problems later in life. Chances of any such risks are much less in the case of younger women and among women who undergo a limited number of treatment cycles.
IVF pregnancy means delivery by C Section
An IVF delivery is in no manner or forms different from a normal delivery. This means whether a woman will have to go for a C-section would depend on her individual complications. In older women, however, sometimes C-section is preferred due to ensure safe delivery.