Monday, May 04, 2015

Fertility Facts and Myths

When it comes to fertility and IVF, there are a number of misconceptions and myths doing the rounds. Some of these stem from cultural factors, while others have been transformed  into “ facts “ just because they have been repeated many times. Here are some questions and answers to try to separate the facts from old wife’s tales:

Are Babies Born via IVF Different?

The truth is that babies born via IVF are as normal and real as any other. They also develop from a sperm and an egg, are healthy and bring a lot of joy to their families. This myth has arisen   because  ignorant  people  tend  to  ostracize those who can’t  have babies; and when  they do get pregnant after undergoing IVF, the assumption is  that these children  can’t  be like  others.

Is age an important factor in conception?

Statistical trends indicate that since the 1970’s, there has been a steady rise in the age of women having their first child. This population trend is actually a well- documented fact; but the other fact also is that female physiology and biology hasn’t really changed and when it comes to female fertility, age does play a very significant role. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have.

This number starts to decline once a woman reaches 35 years of age. This is the reason why age and deferring pregnancy has now become such an important topic.  When younger  infertile patients have second thoughts about  whether  to have IVF or not,  I tell them that the key  to successful conception  is  to proactively seek professional guidance so they can make a well-informed decision, and do not have any regrets later on. If you are uncertain, do remember that the success rate with IVF is higher for younger women.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Infertility ?

Another factor that plays an important role is that a number of infertile couples don’t recognize that they are infertile. The reason for this is simple – there are no symptoms or signs of being infertile ! If you have been having unprotected intercourse for over a year and have not conceived, then you meet the medical definition of being infertile, and you should consult a doctor . Hopefully, all the tests will be normal, and we will be able to reassure you that all is well !

Does undergoing IVF treatment always mean that you will end up having twins or triplets ?

In the early days of IVF, it was quite common for women to have twins or triplets.  When success rates were low, doctors would often transfer more embryos in order to inflate their pregnancy rates. This is why women had a much higher risk of having high order multiples after IVF. However, over the last decade or so, there have been a significant number of technological advances in the field, which has dramatically reduced the possibility of this taking place. The twin  rate  has now  reduced  to around  15% and  the triplets rates has  dropped to less than  1% of live-births in women  below  35 years  of age. The field is advancing at a very rapid pace and with the use of eSET (elective single embryo transfer), the chances of multiple pregnancies are nearly zero.

If you are healthy, does it also mean there is no chance of you being infertile?

Being healthy is by no means an indicator of whether a person is infertile. A lot of healthy couples who visit our clinic are infertile. Having said that, there are a number of factors that can impact fertility- smoking and obesity can have a negative impact on infertility and these two factors put both men and women at risk.

At the end of the day, it becomes very important that couples don’t fall victim to myths, doubts and misconceptions about fertility.  It’s crucial that you speak with a fertility specialist and do your homework, so you can sift the myths from the facts and decide if you want to take medical treatment.

Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better!

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