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Five myths about in vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization is one of the assisted reproduction treatments with more concerns related to it. There is a lot of myths associated with this method and success rates. We will share some of them.

When a doctor recommends in vitro fertilization (IVF) as the appropriate treatment for a couple that faces an infertility diagnosis, the couple’s fears associated with the process start to take over their thoughts and emotions concerning the situations that may happen due to this technique.

Will I have multiple pregnancies? Are there harmful effects on my body? How safe will the pregnancy be? Is it painful? 

These are some of the questions that go through couple’s minds that need to be answered to make this treatment their dream of becoming parents a reality.

While it is true that multiple factors must be analyzed by the specialist when a couple decides to begin an IVF treatment, there are myths associated with this assisted reproduction technique that we want to clarify below.

False

Years ago, this treatment was associated with multiple pregnancies because it was necessary to deliver several embryos to the mother’s uterus to improve the chances of success. However, today we have better embryo culture techniques that allow us to bring embryos to better development stages; this allows a better embryo selection and embryo transfer with a greater chance of success. In this way, it is no longer essential to carry multiple embryos into the uterus to achieve a positive success rate. It is appropriate to clarify that the transfer of several embryos does not guarantee multiple pregnancies either. The possibility or risk that two embryos will implant when we transfer more than one is 20%

CIRCUMSTANCIAL

IVF is a treatment that consists of 4 key moments that can generate different reactions in the patient; however, it is not a procedure that requires prolonged rest or prevents the normal development of daily activities.

  • Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation: accomplished through drugs, almost always subcutaneously. The aim is to stimulate the ovaries for the maturation of multiple follicles simultaneously. This procedure can be annoying due to the daily injection required and because once the follicles have grown, some discomfort like heaviness may be felt in the abdomen.
  • Egg retrieval or ovarian puncture: this procedure is perhaps the most delicate because it requires an intervention under sedation. Nevertheless, it is an ambulatory procedure with a rapid recovery of consciousness. It is normal to feel some abdominal discomfort after the procedure. However, the complication rate is less than 1% when performed by a trained physician.
  • Collection of semen samples: this process is achieved through masturbation; therefore, it does not generate any pain or discomfort in the patient. It can lead to a mental blockage of arousal by the stress when trying to acquire the sample. Because of this, collecting the sample at home in a more intimate and calm environment is almost always a possibility.
  • Embryo transfer: This procedure is ambulatory and does not require anesthesia. It can be uncomfortable because of the use of a vaginal speculum like when taking the pap test. However, it does not cause pain. There is the possibility of doing it under sedation when patients have a history of vulvar diseases that make tolerance to vaginal speculum difficult.

FALSE

Assisted reproductive treatments are carried with a individualized probability of success. Each patient is a universe to be discovered; Therefore, there are no certainties, and depending on their pathologies or circumstances, the pregnancy rates can be increased or decreased. It is good to know that programs seek to give the patient a better cumulative success rate at the end of their treatment. Each reproductive medicine center designs these plans depending on its statistics and success rates.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL

Because IVF requires ovarian stimulation through hormones, there may be some alterations in your body or mood; however, it is important to keep in mind that the treating physician will look for the better option to affect these aspects as little as possible. These effects are always reversible in the short term after finishing the treatment. You may feel in the middle of treatment in some circumstances, like if you were already pregnant due to these temporary hormonal changes.

FALSE

Pregnancies resulting from fertility treatments can be carried as normal as natural pregnancies. Being the product of assisted reproductive techniques does not mean that there will be complications associated with the treatment. Therefore, it is important to bear in mind medical recommendations and pre-existing diseases. As in any pregnancy, special situations may arise that require greater attention and changes in management protocols.

The most important thing to consider in the middle of an assisted reproduction treatment, such as IVF, is to have a specialist doctor who can guide you through the process and thus solve all the concerns associated with this reproductive technique.

Although all cases have peculiarities, with an accurate diagnosis and constant monitoring, and depending on each person’s medical history, the trained specialist can seek the best option to make sure the dream of becoming parents becomes a reality.

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