7 misconceptions about infertility and IVF debunked

If you're dealing with infertility and want to opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF), don't you dare fall for these myths about infertility and IVF treatment.

myths about infertility
Don't fall for these infertility and IVF myths. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sneha Sathe Published on: 19 August 2022, 10:15 am IST
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Wanting to have a child and not being able to get pregnant can be heartbreaking, The process of conceiving  may not always be as simple as you may think it is. Infertility is a very complex condition. Many myths and misconceptions surround the topic of infertility and even though medical science has brought about a growing number of interventions and technologies to assist individuals toward pregnancy, much of it is misunderstood. So, we are going to bust some common myths around infertility and IVF treatment.

Here are 7 common myths surrounding infertility and IVF:

Myth 1: Infertility is usually due to a problem in the woman

Fact: The causes of infertility are almost equally shared by female and male partners. In addition, frequently the causes are multiple. Just identifying one cause (for example, blocked fallopian tubes in a woman or a low sperm count in a man) does not mean that others do not exist. A thorough evaluation by a fertility specialist is essential to saving time, money and emotional energy.

Myth 2: Infertility is an older woman’s problem.

Fact: Infertility is caused by a wide variety of factors that can sometimes affect women and men in their early reproductive years. Conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are common in young women and often lead to issues with fertility. Other medical conditions like autoimmune disease or cancer may also have important effects on fertility. Environmental and behavioral factors can play a role, too. For women, the ovarian reserve does decline with age and more so after the mid-thirties, but we do see young women with a reduced egg reserve as well.

myths about infertility
Be aware of the risks before planning a baby later in life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The truth is that not all older women will have difficulty conceiving, and not all young couples will become pregnant easily.

Myth 3: You conceived your first baby easily, so the next pregnancy should be easy

Fact: There’s no sure way of knowing. The one thing that has changed definitely since your first baby, may be your age. You are older. You may have less time to be spontaneous with your sex life. There may be other problems that have turned up now. Your partner’s sperm count may have gone down. Your tube(s) may have become blocked. Your egg reserve may have reduced. If you are under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year (even if it is for your second baby), talk to your doctor (six months if you are over 35).

Also, read: IVF is an effective and safe procedure to treat infertility

Myth 4: IVF is the only option for infertile couples

Fact: Not everyone needs IVF. Other treatments such as medication to improve sperm quality, ovulation induction, IUI, minimally invasive fertility enhancing surgery etc are available and many couples are able to easily conceive with these simpler treatment options.

Myth 5: IVF diminishes your ovarian reserve by taking away eggs that you would otherwise have

Fact: At the beginning of each cycle, your body recruits a group of eggs that have the potential to mature in that month. Normally only one matures and is released (ovulation) while the others in the group die. With IVF, all the eggs that are naturally recruited that month get stimulated so they all get an opportunity to mature. Nothing happens to the other eggs (which are not part of the group recruited for that cycle).

myths about infertility
It is completely possible to get pregnant with your own eggs or donor eggs with low AMH. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Myth 6: You will have twins or triplets with IVF

Fact– It is not the IVF per se, but the number of embryos transferred to the womb during the IVF procedure, increases your risk of multiple babies. In the past, doctors would transfer two or more embryos in the hope of achieving a pregnancy, significantly increasing the chances of twins or triplets. Now, technological advancements mean that we have a much better understanding of which embryos have the best chance. You can discuss with your treating doctor about transferring one embryo at a time.

Also, read: World IVF Day: 4 benefits of IVF treatment at the right age

Myth 7: IVF always works

Fact: There is no fertility treatment (including IVF) anywhere in the world that can guarantee pregnancy. The most important fact to know about IVF is that’s it’s not 100 percent successful—and that the IVF process can take time, money, and even an emotional toll on your life.

The likelihood of a successful IVF cycle depends on several factors, the most important being the age of the female partner. Most of the factors that determine success are not under your control. However, there are various ways you can increase your odds of success, such as through a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, certain supplements etc. Of course, the fertility centre and fertility specialist you choose to go to also plays a role.

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About the Author
Dr Sneha Sathe Dr Sneha Sathe

Dr Sneha Sathe, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility Mumbai 

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