As a fertility consultant, I get to talk with hundreds of women on their fertility journeys. Some of the advice that these women have been given by professionals is shockingly wrong. And then there’s the advice from people that have never had fertility issues, that seem to love to know the most and share their “brilliant” advice. And yes, it usually starts with you should just relax and get drunk if you want to get pregnant. (And yes, I also want to flick them in the boob.)
Here are the top three myths about IVF that, once cleared up, will allow you to move forward with your fertility journey.
Myth 1: A Lab is a Lab
All labs are not created equally. There are three parts to a lab: the embryologist, the equipment, and the protocols for fertilization and growth. All three of these have a huge impact on if and how your embryo will be created and survive until the embryo transfer. And the more specialized your issues are, the more specialized the embryologist and lab must be — just like any other medical issue.
[Related: What I went through to become a single mother by choice]
Don’t be fooled by marketing tools such as, “Women come from Russia to go to our clinic.” That clinic was good 15 years ago…which is also the last time their equipment was updated. Another one: “Our statistics are so low because we take on the most difficult cases.” No, your statistics are low because your techniques are not effective.
Please don’t pick clinics based on convenience or what your friend suggests. Instead, find the one that is getting you results. And yes, it probably won’t be the one that all of the international clients know about yet.
Myth 2: IVF Is A Numbers Game
I think I need to breathe a couple of times before I answer this. IVF is a numbers game — a great game where one person always seems to win (and that person is not you). Think about it: When a cardiologist fails, there is a dead person, a family trying to sue the doctor, and a board reviewing the choices that the doctor made. When a fertility doctor fails, the only thing that happens is that they get paid to try again.
Worst game ever.
This is science, and there are many things that get in the way. So when you hear that there is nothing else to do but try again since "this is a numbers game," find someone else to play with.
[Related: Dealing with infertility? Toss the holiday cards.]
Myth 3: There's Nothing You Can Do To Help An Egg Retrieval or Transfer
There are many, many key things that you can do to help an egg retrieval or a transfer. Are you making eggs, but not many that are mature enough to fertilize? Are your eggs fertilized, but not growing into many embryos? Are the embryos going in and never coming out as a baby?
For any of these issues and more, there are changes to make, such as the types and combinations of drugs, drug doses, and timing of the drugs — and then, of course, there is the lab. On top of that, there are things that you can do to naturally balance your hormones, including energy restorative practices that will allow your cells to regenerate better and more often.
So Mama, I hope that this was helpful for you to move forward with some truths to your IVF journey. Please don’t let any of these myths keep you from reaching your family goals.