Well over a century of research and developments have paved the path to where we stand with in vitro fertilization (IVF). This advanced treatment combines a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg with the ultimate goal of implanting a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus to allow for the development of a full-term infant. Despite the fact that IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology, there are still many myths that can lead those looking for a treatment to be misinformed. Some of these myths are formed out of fear, and some are formed out of hope, but regardless of the origin of this misinformation, it’s time to set the record straight. We’re taking time to separate the fact from the fiction in these top five myths about IVF.
Myth #1: IVF increases health risks for your baby
A misconception surrounding IVF is that the baby will have an increased risk of birth defects, lower birth weight, and developmental delay, but no evidence supports this claim. Genetic counseling helps ensure embryos are healthy prior to transfer, which is actually one of the surest ways to lower your child’s risk for genetic defects. While this does not completely eliminate the possibility of defects, it is a safe and effective way to determine genetic health.
Myth #2: IVF increases your risk of health problems
Because female factor infertility correlates with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, a common myth about IVF implies that IVF increases your risk of developing cancer. Believers of this myth do not realize that it is not the fertility treatment that creates this correlation, but rather it’s the underlying infertility diagnosis that elevates this risk. There is no scientific evidence that suggests that fertility treatments, including IVF, increased your risk of developing ovarian or breast cancer.
Myth #3: Eating pineapple will help improve implantation chances
This myth is also a common superstition: it has been said that eating pineapple increases the chance of a successful embryo transfer. While there is research that backs up pineapple’s antiinflammatory qualities, there is no factual evidence to suggest that this fruit improves implantation chances.
Myth #4: IVF is only for couples who are struggling with infertility
IVF has helped millions of couples who struggle with infertility achieve their dream of having a family, but this treatment is not limited to couples who cannot conceive on their own.
IVF has also helped those with genetic disorders that may be harmful to their baby if they were to conceive naturally. When embryos are created in the lab using donated eggs and sperm, the embryos are tested for genetic problems to ensure only healthy embryos are transferred.
Same-sex couples can also start a family through IVF. This is a good option for couples who want one partner’s DNA present in their baby. Donated eggs or sperm help complete the process. In cases where the same-sex couple are both females, it can be arranged that the eggs from one partner are used in fertilization and then transferred to the other partner for gestation.
Myth #5: IVF is the first step you should take if you’re struggling with infertility
While the previously mentioned genetic conditions and same-sex couples require IVF to start a family, in healthy heterosexual couples, there may be other options to help you conceive. At Carolinas Fertility Institute, we offer a wide array of fertility evaluations that can help determine the best course of action. Other options include da Vinci robotic surgery to fix structural problems or other hormonal medications to help balance hormones and promote regular ovulation.
Talk to A Fertility Expert
If you have concerns about IVF or other fertility treatments, the team at Carolinas Fertility Institute is here to help. The physicians and staff at our North Carolina fertility clinic have decades of experience in providing personalized and affordable care to patients on fertility journeys. We are here to provide the highest quality of care and to also help clear up any myths about IVF. To make an appointment, call our Charlotte office at (844) 686-2233 or our office in the Triad at (336) 448-9100.