In-vitro fertilization is the only method that many women can use to successfully conceive a baby. This can be a scary realization for these women because they have heard various statements about the process that make it seem overwhelming. Many of the things that women hear about IVF are in fact myths, and should be completely disregarded when a woman is deciding whether she wants to undergo the process.
Myth #1. IVF is easy and fast
IVF isn’t an easy way to get pregnant, and it usually isn’t fast. You must take shots and other medications to boost your egg production. You are closely monitored during the entire process. This is an invasive process that takes many doctor appointments and hours of self-care. Many women who undergo IVF have to have more than one attempt in order to produce a successful pregnancy. Some women even decide to stop the process before getting pregnant.
Myth #2. IVF isn’t painful
You can expect some pain when you are undergoing IVF. You need to give yourself shots or have someone give them to you. The procedure for harvesting the eggs and implanting them requires you to return to the doctor’s office. The pain from IVF is usually controlled using pain medications and hot or cold compresses.
Myth #3. IVF pregnancies are difficult
An IVF pregnancy is just like a pregnancy for a woman who conceived naturally. The only difference is that you will receive closer monitoring during the early weeks and months while the fertility specialist tries to determine whether any of the implanted eggs are still viable. Once the pregnancy is established, you are likely going to follow the same schedule for doctor visits as any other pregnant woman. In the past, women who had IVF were considered high-risk pregnancies and some were placed on bed rest. That is no longer the case.
Myth #4. IVF is only for the rich
Insurance does not cover IVF, but this doesn’t mean that it is only for the rich. The cost of doctor visits and procedures are considerable; however, many practitioners provide payment plans so women don’t have to come up with the entire cost of the treatments up front. You can shop around for the medications that you need so you aren’t stuck using the highest priced medications just because they are available at the pharmacy closest to you. Once you are pregnant, your insurance will cover the obstetrical visits, labor and delivery according to the coverage you have in your insurance plan.
Myth #5. IVF means multiples
A woman who uses IVF to conceive does have an increased chance of having twins or higher order multiples; however, IVF isn’t a guarantee that this will happen. A woman who is concerned about having multiples can speak with her fertility specialist about this concern. The doctor might recommend that she has fewer embryos implanted. Many fertility specialists recommend having at least two embryos implanted just in case one isn’t viable. Some women opt to have more than two embryos implanted.
Myth #6. IVF babies face health risks
It is true that babies conceived using IVF might be on the smaller side when they are born, but they don’t usually fall into the small-for-gestational-age category. There isn’t any evidence that babies conceived using IVF are at an increased risk of birth defects, learning disabilities or any similar conditions. All pregnancies have a 3 to 5 percent chance of a birth defect and a 1 to 2 percent chance of a learning disability.