Starting a fertility treatment journey might feel like going down a rabbit hole because there are many details and nuances that your doctor might not mention, making it difficult to know what to expect from the process and the results. In this article, we will be taking a look what most fertility experts wont tell you about IVF.
Doctors frequently describe what a patient will be going through in a pretty perfunctory, simplistic way — they don’t talk about the details that are involved.
Says Sharon Covington, director of psychological support services for Shady Grove Fertility in Washington, DC, one of the biggest fertility practices in the United States, with locations in multiple states.
What Most Fertility Experts Wont Tell You About IVF
There’s No Guarantee of Success With Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
According to Alice Domar, PhD, the head psychologist and director of integrative care at Boston IVF, “some doctors are not explicit enough about calculating the success rate for each specific patient.” “Software is now available to offer a fair customised estimate.”
A woman’s likelihood of getting pregnant through ART depends on a variety of variables, including her age, the expertise of the physician or facility administering the operation, and her infertility diagnosis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that, on average, only 38% of ART cycles for women under 35 result in live babies (CDC). This success rate falls to 31% for women over the age of 44, 32% for women between the ages of 35 and 37, 23% for women between the ages of 38 and 40, 14% for women between the ages of 41 and 42, and 7% for women between the ages of 43 and 42.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Can’t Compensate for Poor Quality Eggs
While IVF can aid women in producing more eggs in a single cycle in an effort to increase their fertility, the quality of those eggs won’t be enhanced. In actuality, the success of IVF is greatly influenced by egg quality. Simply put, high-quality eggs result in high-quality embryos that are more likely to develop successfully inside the uterus, leading to a healthy, viable pregnancy. Therefore, whereas a woman with a small number of high-quality eggs may be able to conceive via IVF, a woman with a large number of eggs of lower quality may not.
A woman’s capacity to generate eggs of high quality significantly decreases as she ages. According to Mary Ellen Pavone, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, “Maternal age is the most important prognostic factor in whether or not IVF will work.”
“Chances of success decline as women age.”
While having optimism about your prospects of success is crucial, it’s also a good idea to enter the process with an open mind and reasonable expectations.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Can Be Painful
When giving fertility injections as part of IVF, doctors frequently forget to discuss the possibility of physical discomfort.
For starters, according to Covington, editor of Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies, “the shots can hurt, depending on where they’re being given, the needle size, and which medicines are being given.” Additionally, it is typical for the injection site to gradually develop pain and tenderness.
The end result is that, according to Dr. Domar, “many patients feel that they are not fully prepared for the physical and psychological load of a treatment cycle.”
Fertility Treatment Can Put You on an Emotional Roller Coaster
Other components of ART can also have a negative emotional impact on you; it’s not simply the hormones and fertility medications that can. IVF is a very stressful process.
Patients who have previously experienced depression or anxiety symptoms may find that they are experiencing such symptoms once more, according to Dr. Pavone. Even those without this history might experience anxiety or depression.
According to a study published in the August 2016 edition of Human Reproduction, 37% of women actually have emotional maladjustment during IVF therapy, and 10% experience a delayed emotional reaction of worry or despair. It’s crucial to spend time with dependable people you can confide in or a mental health counselor who can support you through this trip if you see that your mood is starting to deteriorate.
Your Partner Might Join You on That Emotional Roller Coaster
Additionally, if fertility treatments continue for an extended period of time, your partner’s mood may also be affected.
The same Human Reproduction study discovered that one year following the couple’s initial fertility assessment, men’s psychological signs of maladjustment, such as anxiety, sadness, active-avoidance coping, catastrophizing, and communication challenges, dramatically increased. (Your partner might also gain from obtaining assistance.)
IVF Can Go on for Longer Than You Expect
While a woman’s menstrual cycle typically lasts for 28 days, an IVF cycle might last much longer. Birth control pill pretreatments are occasionally used in conjunction with IVF to control a woman’s cycle and ovulation, according to Pavone. Once IVF is officially underway, the process can take four to six weeks to complete before the egg harvesting and three to five days after that, the embryo transfer.
Conquering Infertility authors Domar points out that “beginning a cycle doesn’t equal finishing it – about 20% of the time a cycle is canceled.” The entire process starts over and the clock is reset if another cycle is started later.
A Positive Pregnancy Test Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Success
According to Pavone, there is always a chance of an early miscarriage or a biochemical pregnancy, which is defined as a positive pregnancy test that drops quickly after being discovered. Researchers at two infertility treatment facilities examined the outcomes of over 5,500 IVF/ICSI embryo transfer cycles that resulted in clinical pregnancy for a study that was published in the August 2018 issue of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. The total miscarriage rate among ART-using couples was 12.5%, and the risk of miscarriage rose as the mother’s age increased.
If You Don’t Become Pregnant After IVF, It Can Affect How You Feel About Your Body
After undergoing fertility treatments, not being able to conceive can have a significant impact on a woman’s self-image, body image, and self-esteem because many women believe that their bodies were created to have children, according to Covington.
Women may feel as though their bodies are somehow flawed as a result. According to certain studies published in the Australasian Medical Journal, fertility and infertility therapies may potentially affect both men and women’s sexual function and sexual self-esteem.
We hope you found this piece very informative. You can book a consultation with us today for more. We will be glad to help as we are here to partner with you on your journey to parenthood.
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