If you are undergoing fertility treatments of any kind, odds are you are fairly well-versed in the facts and statistics regarding in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies. Even so, there may be a fact or two (or 12) that you haven’t yet learned.
Here is a list of 12 facts about infertility and IVF that may surprise you. It’s always good to learn a little something new!
- Infertility isn’t as uncommon as you would think. When you are trying to get pregnant, it feels like everyone around you is a Fertile Myrtle. There is a baby in every abdomen that walks by…or so it seems. In fact, infertility affects about 12% of the population so you are definitely not alone.
- Even IVF pregnancies can become ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Typically, ectopic – or tubal – pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes although they can take place elsewhere. You would think that since IVF transfers an embryo directly into the uterus, ectopic pregnancies wouldn’t be possible. However, uterine contractions that occur post-transfer can cause the embryo to move elsewhere. In fact, ectopic pregnancies are more common (2% – 5%) with IVF than with natural conceptions (1% to 2.5%).
- Acupuncture can increase your IVF success rate. There is more than one study out there that correlates acupuncture with IVF success. Studies from Germany, Denmark and Canada have all linked increased implantation and live birth rates with specialized acupuncture used before, during and after the IVF cycles.
- Need IVF? Move to the Land Down Under. If you are worried about financing your IVF treatments, you may want to consider becoming a legal resident of Australia. The Australian Medicare system as well as their Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, subsidizes IVF cycles. However, the price of your roundtrip tickets and higher living expenses will probably cancel out the financial assistance.
- Using younger eggs give you youthful fertility advantages. Many women don’t realize that younger donor eggs place your chances of a live birth in the same category as the donors’ hypothetical IVF chances for success. This can make a big difference in your potential IVF success. If you are in your 40’s and you use a donor egg from a woman who is 22, you will have the same chances of a live birth as a 22-year old women who undergoes IVF treatments with their own eggs.
- IVF treatments aren’t as common as you would think. When you are living in the world of IVF cycles, you are surrounded by a population of people undergoing the same treatments, even if your contact is via blogs, online support groups and other social networks. In fact, only about 5% of couples who experience infertility actually move forward with IVF.
- Eggs harvested does not equal eggs fertilized. Your eggs will be carefully screened to make sure they have everything required to produce a healthy embryo. So, although your doctor may harvest 10 to 20 eggs, it may be that only a small portion of these can actually be used to create embryos for IVF transfer.
- You are more likely to have identical twins from a multiple embryo transfer. Yep! You read that right. Everyone (or almost everyone) knows that fraternal twins (or triplets!) are more likely if you proceed with a multiple embryo transfer. What most people don’t know is that identical twins (resulting from a single zygote that splits) are also more likely when you use IVF. The reasons why are still being researched, but experts think it’s due to the single prick required for fertilization and/or the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) where a single cell removed for anlysis.
- Quadruplets and higher-orders of multiples are rarely the result of IVF. So, the Octomom and others have been promoted in the media, (which hasn’t always shed the most positive light on IVF treatment), they are actually atypical. Most higher numbers of multiples, from quadruplets on up, occur more often as the result of a fertility treatment called intrauterine insemination (IUI).
- More ejaculation is better. Men will be happy to learn that the more often they masturbate – and/or ejaculate – the healthier their sperm tend to be. The old way of thinking had men abstain from masturbating two to three days prior to an IVF cycle to increase sperm count. Now, we have learned that more frequent masturbation in the days leading up to your Official Sperm Sample for the IVF cycle results in sperm with better motility and morphology.
- Healthy sleep habits make for better IVF cycles. Are you pacing the house in the middle of the night, whispering sweet nothings to your future baby in his/her future nursery? STOP! Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis increases the success rate of IVF cycles. Women who get too little (less than 5 hours a night) or too much (10 hours or more) sleep each night have lower IVF success rates than women who get an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Being famous doesn’t make you more fertile. Sometimes it seems like the celebrities have it all. However, they’re just as susceptible to infertility as the rest of us. If you are using infertility treatments, including IVF, you are sharing the boat with the likes of Celine Dion, Matthew Broderick, Mariah Carey, Courtney Cox, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, Hugh Jackman, Ricky Martin, Jamie Leigh Curtis and Christopher Guest, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Jane Seymore, Angela Bassett, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Kelsey Grammer, Nicole Kidman, Kirstey Alley and Sherri Shepherd.
Did you learn anything new? We hope so. What are some of the interesting or surprising facts you’ve learned about infertility or IVF lately? Share them with us in the RRC comment box below.
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