Louise Brown, the first baby ever conceived with the use of IVF, was born on the 25th of July 1978. Since that time, which is over four decades ago, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has played a large role in successfully treating Millions of infertile couples globally.
In 2020, the estimated number of children conceived and given birth to by ART was estimated to be over Eight Million. Despite this huge number, there are still numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding these Reproductive Techniques. The fact is that many of these myths are only due to lack of knowledge. Clarifying these misconceptions can help remove the social stigma associated with infertility and IVF, and improve access to care.
Myth 1: Infertile Couples Cannot Conceive On their Own
Fact: It is important to understand the difference between Infertility and Sterility. At the point when a couple does not get pregnant a year after regular unprotected intercourse, we can say that they are infertile. We have cause to speculate something might not be right. Be that as it may, it is possible for couples or individuals who have been diagnosed with infertility to get pregnant without fertility medications. The chance of that happening will rely upon the reason for their infertility, their age, and the length of time they have been attempting pregnancy. The chances might be extremely little, under 1% sometimes, yet they are not zero.
Some causes of infertility are less likely to lead to a spontaneous pregnancy. For instance, a woman diagnosed with primary ovarian failure is significantly less likely to get pregnant on her own than a couple diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Furthermore, the longer a couple has been trying unsuccessfully, the less likely it is that they will get pregnant on their own.
Sterility is an entirely different discussion; a sterile male or female is incapable of getting pregnant without fertility assistance. This could be a man who has zero sperm count, also known as “Azoospermia”. When a structural issue causes Azoospermia and sperm cells cannot get into the semen, the man is sterile. A female will be considered sterile if she has both of her fallopian tubes completely blocked. Her eggs will not be able to reach the Uterus (and the sperm can’t get to the egg), pregnancy will be impossible without the help of Advanced Technology.
This does not mean that if you are infertile (but not sterile) you ought to depend on those little chances of getting pregnant. You cannot assume your infertility as birth control. If you would prefer not to get pregnant, regardless of whether you require an egg donor and IVF to get pregnant previously, use contraception. Pregnancies have and do happen.
Myth 2: Infertility Is a Female Challenge
Fact: We are culturally programmed in Nigeria to believe that the females are the only possible cause of infertility. Some reasons for infertility in women may include; Age, Lifestyle habits (Smoking and alcohol consumption), Obesity, eating disorders, poor diet, endometriosis, mental stress, ovulation disorders among others. With that being said, it must be noted that 50% of infertility cases results from male infertility. This could result from issues with the sperm, such as low sperm count, low sperm motility, abnormal sperm. These issues could arise from, over exposure of testicles to heat, hormonal imbalance, obstruction on the ejaculatory duct etc.
In the light of these, it is safe to say that infertility is not solely a female problem; it could very well be a male factor or a combination of both.
Myth 3: Donating Eggs/ IVF Will Deplete and Diminish Ovarian Reserve
Fact: Ovarian reverse is simply the amount of egg follicles remaining in a woman’s ovaries. Women are born with approximately 2,000,000 follicles, however by puberty; there are only about 400,000 eggs left. During the menstrual cycle, about 15 – 20 eggs are stimulated. However, only one makes it through the ovulation process, the rest of them get reabsorbed (in other words, they die). With IVF, all the eggs that naturally get recruited per month get stimulated and allowed to mature. This way, each egg gets a chance to eventually become an embryo and not die off like it normally would, the other eggs remaining in the ovaries are unaffected. Therefore, there is no chance of eggs getting finished through donation for IVF or by having repeated IVF procedures done.
Myth 4: There Is a Higher Risk of Multiple Gestation (Twins, Triplets or More) With IVF
Fact: IVF is the ONLY fertility treatment that permits control for the number of embryos that are implanted into the uterus. With other treatments, for example, oral or injectable drugs with intercourse or insemination, there is no control. The majorities of the eggs that have developed in an ovarian stimulation with intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle for instance, have a chance of getting fertilized and become pregnancy. This in some cases gives a higher chance of conceiving multiples than IVF. Although there are cases of multiple pregnancies with IVF procedure, reducing the number of embryos transferred particularly in younger women, can minimize this risk of multiple births………………….……………………….TO BE CONTINUED.