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Debunking the Myths: The Truth About IVF

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) enables couples with infertility to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Although it has recently gained more acceptance and popularity, several myths about IVF still abound. This article aims to debunk these myths and present the facts of IVF.

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Myth#1: IVF always results in multiple births.

One of the biggest myths surrounding IVF is that it always results in the birth of twins, triplets, or even more babies. While it is true that IVF can increase the chances of multiple births, this is not always the case. Many IVF clinics now use a single embryo transfer (SET) technique, which involves transferring only one embryo to the uterus, thereby reducing the risk of multiple births.

Myth#2: IVF is only for older women.

Another common myth about IVF is that it is only for women over a certain age. While it is true that fertility declines as women age, IVF can be helpful for women of all ages who are struggling with infertility. In fact, younger women have a better chance of success with IVF, as they produce more eggs of better quality.

Myth#3: IVF is always successful.

While IVF can be a highly effective infertility treatment, it is not always successful. Success rates can vary widely depending on several factors, like the woman's age, the cause of infertility, the medical condition of the patient, and the quality of sperm and the embryos created. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average live birth rate for IVF is around 30%, meaning many couples may need multiple IVF cycles to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Myth#4: IVF is unnatural and risky.

IVF opponents believe the procedure is risky and unnatural and could harm the mother and the baby. This is not true. IVF is a safe and highly regulated medical procedure that has proven to be a successful treatment for many decades. Although all medical procedures carry risks, careful screening and monitoring can minimize the risks associated with IVF.

Myth#5: IVF is prohibitively expensive.

While IVF can be expensive, it is not necessarily prohibitively so. Some IVF clinics also offer EMI options and promotional offers. Remember that choosing a clinic with higher success rates would mean that an average patient must undergo fewer cycles, which means a lower aggregate cost.

Myth#6: All IVF Clinics offer the same treatment.

All IVF clinics are not the same. They vary in the quality of doctors, embryologists, training of their nursing staff, treatment protocols, infrastructure, technology, and investments made in research, all of which come together to determine their patient experience and success rates. Therefore, compare multiple clinics before selecting one that is right for your IVF treatment.

Myth#7: Babies born through IVF are not normal.

People commonly believe that IVF babies differ from those conceived naturally. However, the fact remains that babies born through IVF are just as normal as naturally conceived babies, except for the method of conception. If anything, babies born out of IVF may be healthier because only healthy embryos are selected and transferred during the treatment, reducing incidences of inherited congenital disabilities.

Myth#8: IVF is the same as Surrogacy.

Surrogacy and IVF are not the same. While in both cases, the egg is fertilized outside the body leading to the creation of the embryo, in the case of Surrogacy, the embryo is transferred to a surrogate's womb for it to be carried till full term. In contrast, in a non-surrogacy scenario, it is transferred back into the womb of the biological mother whose eggs have been used to create the embryo in the first place. Surrogacy is only for medically indicated reasons and according to ART law criteria.

Myth#9: IVF treatment is carried out only via the donor eggs/sperm.

Despite popular belief and common myths, IVF clinics do not use donor eggs and sperm for all procedures. Instead, they utilize them only when the couple's own gametes (eggs or sperm) are unsuitable for creating an embryo. For example, suppose a woman is young and has a good ovarian reserve. In that case, there is almost no likelihood of her requiring a donor's eggs to conceive through IVF. And the same holds for a man with healthy sperm.

Myth#10: IVF increases cancer risk.

Since women get injected with additional hormones during IVF treatments, another popular myth is that this could increase their risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. However, despite various studies carried out over decades, no evidence suggests that IVF increases the risk of cancer. In conclusion, IVF is a safe and effective treatment to manage and treat both male and female infertility. While there are many myths about IVF, it is imperative to separate fact from fiction and understand the reality of the science of human reproductive medicine. Couples should make informed decisions about their fertility treatment options.


Q. Is IVF only for infertile couples?

No, IVF is not only for infertile couples. It can also be used by couples or individuals with genetic disorders that may affect their child's future health and life term.

Q. Is IVF a safe procedure?

Yes, IVF is generally considered as a safe procedure. That said, as with any medical procedure, there could be some risks involved, but these risks can be mitigated through careful screening and monitoring of the patient's treatment protocol.

Q. Is IVF a guaranteed solution for infertility?

While IVF has helped many couples conceive, it is not a guaranteed solution for infertility. The success rate varies depending on several factors, including health conditions, age, and embryo quality. Therefore, it is important for couples to discuss their circumstances with a fertility specialist and set realistic expectations.

Q. Is IVF covered by insurance?

There are no health insurance plans in India that cover IVF procedures. However, you can opt for EMI options.