Do you really need IVF over the age of 40? I have known many women who got pregnant between treatment cycles when undergoing IVF. Obviously, I’m an advocate of conceiving naturally especially since I went through years of fertility treatments only to have my best success following an all-natural protocol. But, I’ve also read that among healthy couples with no known conditions associated with infertility,
many who fail to conceive naturally within the first year will conceive naturally in the second year.
Most women over 35 are told to “run not walk” to the closest fertility clinic – but the natural route may deserve a chance. There are other reasons to think twice before jumping into fertility treatments:
Higher Incidence of Abnormalities with IVF
In all fairness, I should start by saying that the vast majority of babies conceived
through assisted reproductive techniques are normal. However, I have read that there may be a higher incidence of certain birth defects, certain types of cancers, cognitive delays and possibly conditions like ADD and autism in babies conceived through IVF. Other sources dispute these findings, however it does make you stop and think about the risk.
Most experts agree that more study needs to be done to find out if some abnormalities are
due to the procedures themselves or if it might have something to do with the fact that
people undergoing IVF probably have other anatomical/medical issues that could contribute to the findings. Women who have undergone IVF are also more likely to have C-Sections, premature delivery, and babies with low birth weight.
More Tubal Pregnancies with IVF
There is an increased risk of having a tubal pregnancy after IVF (something I know all too well since I had two). It’s difficult to know for sure why there is a higher incidence of tubal pregnancies with this procedure. It may be as a result of the type of catheter used during the embryo transfer, it may be a result of the embryo moving up into the tube from the uterus after the transfer, or it may be because the woman has some tubal scarring or other abnormality that might make the it difficult for the embryo to come back down into the uterus to implant. Whatever the reason, tubal pregnancies require immediate attention and frequently require surgery to remove the fallopian tube.
Sometimes, a drug called methotrexate (which I received for my second ectopic) can be given if the tubal pregnancy is caught early
IVF and Lab Mix-Ups
I had an interesting incident when we first started going through fertility treatments
and we were trying inseminations. I went in for my insemination after my husband gave his "donation".
After signing in at the doctor's office, I waited and waited. The receptionist
kept giving me these weird looks and after I waited an hour and a half, the doctor himself called me into his office. He sheepishly told me there was a "mix up" in the lab and they had to cancel my insemination. The nurse jokingly says, "We wouldn't want a baby that doesn't look anything like you, now would we?" I sat there somewhat stunned, thinking "EXCUSE ME?? You mean to tell me my husband's sperm is floating around in the wrong pipette? And even worse, some other guy's sperm was in my pipette?!" Well, in their defense, at least the lab technician admitted to the error. I really could have had someone else’s baby.
I still wonder if my husband’s sperm was given to another woman. It's scary to think of all the mistakes that
are microscopic and aren't known at the time.
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