What You Might Not Know About IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology some couples rely on when they are unable to conceive naturally. It’s a great alternative for patients who may have conditions like blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, or unexplained infertility.

However, due to the perceived stigma, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this procedure. Today, we’re hoping to clear any confusion around the topic and create a more open dialogue about it.


The Process

Before the process can begin, fertility medications are prescribed to stimulate egg production. Egg stimulation and maturation will occur for 7-14 days and depends on how the individual woman responds to the hormones. Once multiple eggs are retrieved in a minor surgical procedure, the male is asked to provide a sperm sample. Then, through a process called insemination the sperm and eggs are mixed together and monitored for successful fertilization in the result of an embryo. Typically, 3-5 days following insemination, the embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. If the procedure is successful, implantation will take place 6-10 days afterwards.


Common Misconceptions

Acupuncture increases your chances of a successful IVF.

Studies out of the U.S., Canada, and Germany have shown that incorporating acupuncture into the IVF process can actually boost the success rate. While more research needs to be done to confirm this, the current data looks positive.

IVF will always be successful.

Unfortunately, IVF does not always end in conception. Success depends on a few factors such as age of the mother, lifestyle choices, and the number of embryos implanted. While IVF certainly increases your chances, especially when structural or ovulation disorders are your diagnosis for infertility, it doesn’t guarantee success.

IVF takes away eggs that you would otherwise have.

In a normal menstrual cycle, your body has a group of eggs that could be stimulated. Only one egg matures and ovulates while the others die. In the IVF process, all of the eggs that naturally would have been chosen are stimulated and have the opportunity to mature. The eggs stored for future menstrual cycles are unaffected.

There is a higher risk of multiple gestation with IVF.

Since IVF allows you to choose how many embryos are implanted, it is possible to have multiple births. However, if you elect to have just one of the embryos implanted, it would be rare to give birth to more than one child. There is always a possibility that the embryo won’t successfully implant into the uterine lining. This is why some women who can’t afford multiple cycles of IVF will have more than one embryo implanted at a time. It can increase their chances of conceiving without having to go through multiple cycles of IVF.

Ovarian stimulation causes ovarian cancer.

There have been many studies over the years targeting this specific concern and none of them have shown that stimulating a woman’s ovaries has a direct link to ovarian cancer. Despite some reports that have linked ovarian stimulation to borderline ovarian tumors, they tend to cause little to no pain and aren’t likely to cause problems with future fertility.

Many people may feel ashamed to talk about their fertility struggles. This leads to a lack of conversation around procedures like IVF, which results in a widespread of misinformation and confusion. Opening the conversation about fertility treatment options could help break through this stigma and spread knowledge.

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