Common IVF Myths Debunked

Because infertility is not a generally well-known medical condition, a number of myths about infertility have gained traction over time, particularly when it comes to the most well-known fertility treatment: IVF, which is short for ‘in vitro fertilisation’ – literally meaning fertilisation of an egg in a glass dish in a lab.

Dispelling common myths surrounding IVF treatment is crucial to ensure individuals and couples have accurate information when making decisions about their fertility journey, because with a better understanding of the facts, their chances of success are increased. In this article, our team at Cape Fertility debunk some of the most common IVF myths.

Infertility affects about 1 in 6 couples worldwide, and yet this medical condition is not widely known, understood or spoken about. With very little information generally available, many myths have been perpetuated about infertility – and especially about the best-known fertility treatment that has been sensationalised in popular media: IVF.

In vitro fertilisation, or IVF as it is commonly known, deserves its fame, because it is a highly effective fertility treatment in many cases of infertility, and have helped millions of couples worldwide experience the joy of having their own babies. Here are five of the most common myths about IVF, as well as the truth about each one.

Myth 1: IVF is the general solution for all infertility

The truth is that IVF is not the only treatment for infertility – there are many different treatments available to address the many different possible underlying causes of infertility in a couple.

IVF is also not a general one-size-fits-all solution for fertility challenges. In many cases of infertility, IVF may not be suitable at all for a couple facing infertility.

In addition, various factors influence the success of IVF, including age, underlying medical conditions, and the quality of eggs or sperm.

Age has a significant impact on the success rates of IVF. Because the chances of success declines with age, and particularly after age 35, IVF is not a suitable treatment at all ages. Underlying medical conditions like severe uterine abnormalities or advanced endometriosis, may require alternative treatments, or additional interventions alongside IVF. Where the cause is severe sperm abnormalities or a low sperm count, additional techniques like Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) may be recommended.

For these reasons, it is important to understand that other fertility treatments or interventions may be more appropriate in certain cases.

Myth 2: IVF is a single treatment

The truth is that IVF is not a single treatment but rather a number of procedures, completed over an IVF cycle that typically spans around six weeks – although the number and types of procedure, as well as the timeline can vary depending on individual circumstances.

Typically, however, the IVF process involves several stages, starting with an initial consultation to assess the your medical history, conduct necessary tests, and devise a personalised treatment plan. Ovarian stimulation follows, where fertility medications are administered to stimulate the growth and maturation of multiple eggs. Egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure performed under sedation, where mature eggs are collected from the ovaries using ultrasound guidance. Fertilization of the eggs with sperm takes place in a laboratory, either through conventional IVF or ICSI. Finally, the developed embryos are transferred into the uterus, and a pregnancy test is conducted after a specific period.

While going through an IVF cycle can be physically and emotionally challenging, advances in technology and more refined, efficient and friendly medical protocols have ensured that patients at reputable clinics experience as little discomfort as possible, and also have access to skills and support to cope with the stress.

Worldclass fertility clinics, such as Cape Fertility, prioritise patient comfort and strive to create a supportive and compassionate environment throughout each step of the IVF journey.

Myth 3: IVF always results in multiple births

IVF was historically associated with a greater incidence of multiple births, because of, for example, certain medications used to induce ovulation that raised the risk of twins, and the practice of transferring multiple embryos at a time. However, the rate of this has decreased dramatically due to improvements in medicine and more advanced embryo testing and selection methods that allow only one or two embryos to be transferred.

Of course, it doesn’t mean a patient won’t have multiple pregnancy with IVF, but it’s less likely than it used to be. At the majority of reputable clinics, the goal is to have a singleton pregnancy, because this is always the safest and healthiest option for mom and baby.

Myth 4: IVF and ICSI treatments are too expensive

It is a common concern that IVF and ICSI treatments may be financially out of reach for many couples. However, it is essential to recognise that the cost of these treatments can vary depending on several factors that affect the overall cost ,such as the need for additional procedures or tests, more medications, and further laboratory services.

It is important to have open and transparent communication with your fertility clinic regarding the breakdown of costs and any potential additional expenses that may be necessary. A reputable fertility clinic will also offer assistance with understanding potential medical aid coverage and/or other financial assistance programs, such as medical finance.

Myth 5: IVF protocols are the same for every couple

An IVF protocol is the procedure used to help someone conceive using this treatment option. But although there is a standard approach, at Cape Fertility, it’s always tailored based on the individual needs of the patient. IVF protocols are customised to the couple’s unique fertility challenges and characteristics. For example, a young patient with a high ovarian reserve may require lower dose medications, whereas someone who is older and has low ovarian reserve may require an egg donation. Some couples may also need to complete more than one IVF cycle to achieve a pregnancy.

Now that you know the truth…

Knowing the truth that debunks common myths about IVF treatment is necessary to dispel misconceptions and to enable couples facing infertility to make better decisions based on accurate information.

Because each individual’s fertility journey is unique, seeking guidance from experienced fertility specialists is vital.

IVF may not be the solution for all infertility cases, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another more suitable treatment. Fertility specialists, such as those at Cape Fertility, can guide you toward the most appropriate treatment options because they have the knowledge and expertise to conduct thorough evaluations, assess individual circumstances, and consider various contributing factors before recommending tailored treatment plans that will yield better chances of success.

In addition to the expertise of our highly qualified fertility specialists, patients at Cape Fertility also benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities that enables us to offer the latest cutting-edge treatments as well as the highest standard of personalised care and support throughout your fertility journey.

Your next step in learning more about whether undergoing the IVF treatment process is right for you, is simply to contact us by clicking here

At Cape Fertility, we value each individual patient and we look forward to providing you with individualised and personalised care, affordable quality fertility treatment, and higher success rates at our purpose-built premises in the beautiful city of Cape Town.