In Vitro Fertilization: Myths and facts of IVF we bet nobody told you about

Updated on Apr 13, 2022 12:27 PM IST

IVF always leads to multiple babies? Does one IVF failure closes your chances of success forever? IVF has a 100 per cent success rate and can resolve all infertility issues? Doctors debunk myths and differentiate facts from fiction

In Vitro Fertilization: Myths and facts of IVF we bet nobody told you about (Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash )
In Vitro Fertilization: Myths and facts of IVF we bet nobody told you about (Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash )
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

In vitro fertilization or IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body, in a laboratory and is the most common form of assisted reproductive technology which is used in the management of patients with difficulty undergoing conception. In India, many Bollywood celebrities, authors and journalists, who are considered as influencers, have opted for eggs freezing option and also motivated many others to do so which has made IVF into practically a household word.

Though IVF is a treatment for the infertile couple to avoid inheritable genetic disorders if any of the couples is a carrier and/or suffering, there are many myths surrounding this modality to have a healthy baby. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Meenu Vashisht Ahuja, Consultant at Birla Fertility & IVF, spilled the beans on some of these myths:

Myth: IVF always leads to multiple babies

If IVF is done as per guidelines and international practices, there is only a 20 per cent chance of a multiple pregnancy as the number of embryos that are transferred should be restricted. For the pregnant woman, there is a higher chance of complications if the pregnancy is not single. But, in cases where the age of the woman is advanced or if there is a history of repeated failures, it is advisable to transfer more than one embryo. In such cases, doctors prefer a single blastocyst transfer (human embryo reaches approximately five to six days after fertilisation).

Myth: IVF increases your risk of getting cancer

There is no established connection between cancer (especially uterine and breast cancer) and IVF in any studies or medical research. Women can take a reasonable number of attempts of fertility treatments without any increased risk of cancer except ovarian cancer where the odds are 15 in 10,000-very small. There is no risk of cancer for the unborn child either, even in the adult years.

Myth: IVF is a traumatic procedure

Traditionally, IVF has been associated with a lot of pain and discomfort, especially in the initial few days when the woman partner must take daily doses of hormone injections. But, with advancements in medicine and new recombinant drugs being introduced, the process has become a lot less painful and more convenient. These injections are not always intra-muscular, subcutaneous injections are less painful to take.

Myth: An IVF baby has an increased risk of birth defects

The IVF procedure doesn’t increase the risk of congenital birth defects. On the contrary, it allows for preimplantation genetic testing of the embryo to rule out the chances of the child getting congenital anomalies or chromosomal defects in high-risk cases. These include cases when the age of the woman is over 35 years, or the male is over 50 years, or where there is a family history of genetic disorders.

Myth: One IVF failure closes your chances of success forever

If a couple has a failed IVF cycle for any reason, this does not mean that there is no hope of a pregnancy. It is important to understand why it happened and modify the treatment accordingly to achieve success in future cycles. There have been many cases where patients have conceived after 4-5 IVF cycles, when they were supplemented 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 etc as the case may require.

Myth: There are more complications in IVF pregnancies

A woman’s best chances of conception and a healthy delivery is when she is less than 33 years in age. After the age of 37, this declines rapidly and the risk of complications in pregnancy for both the mother and baby increases. The process of IVF does not add to these complications, which are age induced. But, patients suffering from infertility must not delay seeking medical help at the right time. At a younger age, the success of IVF is also much higher.

Myth: IVF has a 100 per cent success rate and IVF can resolve all infertility issues

This is not true. The success rate of IVF is about 40 per cent in couples below the age of 35. Also, the success rate of IVF depends on several factors such as age, cause of infertility, and biological and hormonal conditions. There are many assisted reproductive procedures such as ovulation induction (OI) with medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI) etc, which can help couples conceive. IVF is just one of them.

Adding to the list, Dr Vinieta Diwakar, Consultant Gynaecologist at Ghaziabad's Manipal Hospital, debunked some myths that include -

Myth: IVF results in abnormal baby

Embryo is implanted after genetic tests if found to be normal

Myth: IVF leads to hormonal problems later in life

All medications are given as per the requirement so no such problems later because of IVF.

Myth: IVF process requires hospitalisation

A day-care procedure

Myth: IVF leads to hormonal problems later in life

All medications are given as per the requirement so no such problems later because of IVF.

Myth: IVF pregnancy means delivery by C Section

Delivery route depends on your presentation as per routine, IVF is not an indication for C Section.

Myth: IVF pregnancy needs extra treatment in comparison to natural route pregnancy

Medication during pregnancy is decided by your presentation of co-morbidities and progress.

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