Medical science has made great progress in treating infertility. There has been an impressive increase in the success rate of IVF over the years. Still, the beneficiaries are few. Most others lack awareness, affordability, access and assurance. Ethical and legal issues related to embryo transfer and surrogacy also restrains the market in addition to a lack of established regulations. All this has IVF surrounded by many myths. Let us try to address them.
Myths vs Facts about IVF
Fact: Not true. The success rate of IVF is about 40% in couples below the age of 35. Also, the success rate of IVF depends on 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, Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), etc. which can help childless couples conceive. IVF is just one of them.
Nitiz Murdia, director, embryology and marketing, Indira IVF HospitalMyth 2: IVF is not safe. IVF babies are born with birth defects and malformations.
Fact: It is a safe procedure with only about 2 per cent of patients standing the risk of becoming unwell from ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. The absolute risk of delivering an IVF baby with malformations is very low. It is same as in a spontaneous pregnancy.
Myth 3: IVF requires admission in a hospital and bed rest during and after the IVF treatment (embryo transfer)
Fact: It is, by and large, an out-patient treatment. Only the egg-collection procedure requires day-care admission. It does not require overnight admission. There's no need to put your life on pause after the embryo transfer. The outcomes may be better in patients without bed rest.
Myth 4: Lifestyle modifications (diet, exercise, quitting smoking/ alcohol/ substance abuse/ stress-free lifestyle) will increase the success rates of IVF.
Fact: Maybe true. Poor nutrition can have an impact on fertility. Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 or those who are severely underweight may have difficulties with fertility. Smoking or substance abuse (like marijuana, etc), can dramatically affect sperm and egg quality, which can have a significant impact on fertility.
Based on research, scientists believe that stress can contribute to infertility. Although, it's not necessarily a direct cause and other factors like low sperm count and quality could also contribute to it.
Also, a study by Korean researchers found that women who sleep seven to eight hours are more likely to have a successful IVF cycle than women who sleep more than nine hours or less than six hours.
Myth 5: Infertility is almost always caused by problems with the female's reproductive system.
Fact: It's common for people to think of infertility as a female problem, but only 35 per cent of infertility cases are caused solely by female factors. Another 35 per cent results from factors in the male reproductive system, 20 per cent come from both and 10 per cent is undetermined.
Myth 6: You have no control over the success of an IVF cycle.
Fact: The results of an IVF cycle are, to a large degree, based on a thorough evaluation of the couple and there are a number of things doctor can do to increase the success rates.