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Synopsis

THE TOP FIVE MYTHS ABOUT INFERTILITY

In-vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF is an advanced treatment in which a woman’s eggs are taken out of her body through a procedure called egg pick-up and mixed with the sperms in the embryology laboratory. This method of fertilization, can help struggling couples to overcome fertility issues that is acting as a barrier from becoming biological parents.

The commonest myth about infertility is tha,t it is only related to the female factor, that means the woman is responsible. To clarify, there can be various issues in the female related to the ovaries, the tubes, the uterus and various hormones but there are also equal number of factors in the male which are responsible for infertility. Thus, both partners are equally responsible and a doctor treating infertility treats the couple as a whole.

The second myth we commonly hear about infertility, especially in a developing country like India is that IVF treatment is very expensive and not affordable for the common man. The fact is that though our income has increased over the years, the cost of IVF has remained static and today it costs less than a joint replacement or heart surgery.IVF is now affordable for all strata of society and in today’s day and age it is a very good investment in planning your family, due to the advanced technologies available.

The third myth about infertility that most patients believe is that IVF requires complete admission and bed rest especially after embryo transfer.In reality IVF is a day care procedure at times of ovum pick up as well as embryo transfer and no admission or bed rest is required, in the hospital or at home. Research states that there is no advantage of bed rest. A study carried out by Abou-Setta et al., in the year 2014 performed a meta-analysis of the Cochrane medical database on this subject. They came to the conclusionthat there is insufficient evidence of the time the woman has to spend lying on her back or resting after the embryo transfer, and possibly it is not necessary at all.Evidence based medicine supports the fact that a woman who is mobile immediately after embryo transfer has higher chances of success.

A common query in the mind of patients is that IVF only causes multiple pregnancies that is twins or triplets. During the initial decades in ivf cases, doctors transferred two or more embryos into the mother. Initially because the success rate for IVF as a whole was lower,it was believed that transferring two or three eggs at once would increase the chances of pregnancy. However due to the advancements in modern medicine, like availability of blastocyst culture (Day5/6 embryos) and laser assisted hatching nowadays clinics implant only one fertilized egg (Blastocyst stage) in the mother, known as single embryo transfer,leading to the birth of just one child.

Lastly a question that plagues many couples is that will my baby be normal, will he or she have any diseases or disabilities? Congenital or birth defects in babies born via IVF occur at the same incidence as they do for babies born through the natural process for that age. IVF is now a process which is more than 30 years old and the oldest babies born via IVF have now conceived children of their own. Parents should not worry about risks of congenital malformations or birth defects in babies born via IVF as they are physically, mentally and emotionally as healthy as the general population.

Thus the advice to couples seeking IVF treatment would be not to believe in myths and to ask a renowned IVF expert to clarify their doubts. In today’s day and age IVF treatment is more affordable, accessible and gives better results and is one of the better options in fulfilling one’s dream of completing a family.

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