Myths & Facts about IVF
Myth: “Infertility is a women’s problem”
Fact: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.
Myth: “Men don’t have infertility problems”
Fact: Though it’s commonly believed that infertility is a “women’s problem,” nothing is further from the truth. About 35 percent of all infertility cases treated in the United States are due to a female problem. But 35 percent (an equal number!) can be traced to a male problem, 20 percent to a problem in both partners, and 10 percent to unknown causes.
Myth: “Infertility means you can’t have a child”
Fact: Infertility means that you have been unable to have a child naturally after a year of trying. With the proper treatment, many people go on to have children. In addition, there is a possibility of a couple conceiving without treatment if the woman is ovulating and has one open tube, and the male partner has some sperm in his ejaculate. This rate may be lower than you would hope, but it is not zero. If you’re struggling with infertility, you undoubtedly have many questions of your own — and maybe even a few misconceptions. Schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist and find out where you stand. Thanks to modern medicine, many infertile couples become parents — and that’s no myth
Myth: “Stick to bed rest after embryo transfer”
Fact: There’s no need to put your life on pause after the embryo transfer. Doctors says this idea is an absolute myth. In fact, a study done in Egypt found that women who were on bed rest for 24 hours following a transfer had a lower success rate compared with those who returned to their usual routine. Another study found that even a short period of bed rest (about 10 minutes) isn’t helpful either. Doctors believe that bed rest can actually be detrimental because it prevents normal fluctuations in heart rate and blood flow.
Myth: “Stress lowers IVF success rates”
Fact: A study published in the March 2014 issue of Human Reproduction followed 401 couples who were trying to conceive. Researchers analyzed two stress biomarkers (alpha-amylase and cortisol) in women and discovered that those with high levels of alpha-amylase were twice as likely to be at risk of infertility. Based on the research, scientists believe stress can contribute to infertility, though it’s not necessarily a direct cause; other factors (like low sperm count and quality) could contribute to it.
Myth: “Special diets can boost your chances of getting pregnant”
Fact: There is no evidence that any specific diet (be it eating pineapple every day or never eating gluten) will increase your chances of success. All of our experts recommend following a healthy, balanced diet full of whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables to maximize your health and the health of the baby you are trying to conceive through IVF. It’s also important to get enough vitamin D each day. A 2014 study of 335 women found that vitamin D deficiency was possibly related to poor IVF outcomes. There is no single food, however, which will make you conceive
Myth: “There is no hurry to get pregnant! Look at all the women in the news having babies well into their 40’s and even 50’s!”
Fact: The vast majority of women who become pregnant after their 43rd birthday have used another women’s egg or even adopted an embryo to achieve conception. In addition, there are significant health risks to both the mother and the baby when she is of advanced reproductive age. These facts should not deter a woman from seeking consultation from her gynecologist or a reproductive specialist about her unique situation and potential for success.
Myth: “Wait a year before seeing a doctor.”
Fact: Regardless of whether you want to start or grow your family today or several years down the road, it’s never too early to begin talking to your doctor about your fertility. Particularly if you and your partner are age 35 or older, if you have frequently irregular periods or conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), if you have had surgery or other conditions that might alter your fertility, or if the male partner has reason to believe he may have a low sperm count, it’s best to talk with your doctor about your options in advance.