IVF treatment has been around for over three decades and today it has phenomenal success rates too. Despite this, a number of patients have their qualms about doing IVF. This is because they think it is an “artificial” process. Their concern is that any baby that is made by artificial processes in a lab will be abnormal and weak. The slightly more sophisticated patients are concerned that since the embryos are inserted artificially into the uterus, they will have to take bed rest post the transfer as the embryo will “fall out” if they don’t do so.
The fact is that when it comes to IVF treatment, myths and misconceptions abound. This is even more evident with reference to the care that patients have to take once they get pregnant. Most of this misinformation is propagated thanks to the influx of online forums and bulletin boards.
Why Myths are Aplenty
It’s not difficult to figure out why these myths are so prevalent- they just make a lot of intuitive sense. Just think of it- if the doctor is putting the embryos via the cervix into the uterus, isn’t it logical to believe that if the woman sneezes, coughs or strains, the embryos will fall out? This is exactly why women are advised to take so many precautions post the embryo transfer. While some of these warnings come from doctors, other advice comes from friends and relatives, or even women who have undergone IVF treatment in the past.
Regardless of whether the patients think this is logical and true, they follow it- they only want to maximize their chances of success and make sure that their embryos come to no harm. And so, we find ourselves telling our patients over and over again that they don’t really need to take any special precautions after IVF and that there isn’t really any need to create an extensive list of do’s and don’ts.
Mimicking the Natural Process
Nothing they do will either lower or up their chances of success. We keep telling our patients that ART is an acronym for Assisted Reproductive Technology and not Artificial Reproductive Technology. IVF allows us to perform in the IVF lab what is not happening naturally in the bedroom for infertile couples. Of course, we are fertilizing the eggs and sperm In vitro, in the lab; but we are only mimicking the natural In vivo process. In the case of fertile couples, this is something which occurs in the fallopian tubes, while in this case is taking place in an IVF lab, that’s all.
Another important fact to keep in view is that once the embryo has been transferred to the woman’s uterus, whether it spent 3 days in the fallopian tubes or 3 days in the lab, is totally inconsequential. Once the embryos implant, the pregnancy is just like any other normal pregnancy.
In the uterus, the embryos follow the completely natural biological process of in utero implantation- it means that the final common pathway remain the same. Just think of IVF as a technique that allows us to navigate the obstacles that eggs and sperm of infertile couples encounter in the bedroom.
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