Infertility Myths and Facts

It is estimated that infertility affects 10-15 percent of all UK families. Often, however, couples avoid talking openly about it, and as a result the subject of infertility is surrounded by many myths.

About the most common myths we hear, we talk to our Northway fertility Centre doctor, Reda Ziobakiene.

Dr. Reda Ziobakiene

– Is it true that female infertility is a much more common problem than male infertility?

– This is not true. According to global statistics, female infertility accounts for 30-40%, male infertility for 30%, 20% is due to both partner’s infertility, and the remaining 10-20% is unexplained infertility. Assessment of our fertility centre data, from all procedures performed in the previous year, shows that 43% of the time the cause was male infertility issues.

– Is it true that women who use contraceptives now will have difficulty getting pregnant, or even will not be able to get pregnant, in the future?

– This is one of the most common myths and what is strange is that it is popular among medical professionals. In fact, although the use of contraceptives in the past few years dropped by almost a quarter, infertility each year is growing dramatically.  So this fact shows that there is no direct link between these factors.

Also, there are strong enough scientific arguments against it. For instance, a research study, which investigated a group of women that for a long time used a variety of contraceptives and another group, which never used them, found that for both groups of women the time from trying to become pregnant to conception did not differ.

I would also like to point out that there is a specific group of women with infertility problems due to hormonal disorders – women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  For this group of women, those who have used contraceptives in the past, experience significantly shorter time to conceive than those women who did not use contraceptives.

– It is said that assisted reproduction procedures have a negative impact on a woman’s health. Are you sure this is the case?

– Again, this is a myth, because neither medication nor fertilization procedures have long-term harmful effects on a women’s health. However, the reason or cause of the infertility may be associated with a certain diseases. For example, women who are infertile with certain hormonal disorders have an increased risk of ovarian or breast cancer. However, as I said, this has nothing to do with the procedure or the drugs that are administered in the treatment of infertility.

– Is it possible to delay having a child until a later age, in the hope that with the help of assisted reproduction techniques, older women may become pregnant?

– I would strongly recommend against that. The media constantly writes about how women aged 50 or older gave birth, and it is contributing to the formation of this incorrect opinion. In fact, fertility is absolutely associated with a woman’s age.

For women under the age of 35 years the chances of getting pregnant after fertility treatment are up to 50%, while women over 40 years have only an 18% chance, and women over 43 years only 5-6%. So it is not really recommended to wait a long time before trying. Ideally a baby should be planned before the age of 30 years, as then is the highest probability of success.

– Women’s discussion forums are full of statements saying that, when having assisted reproduction procedures, the first time you will not get pregnant, and you will need at least two or more treatments. Is there any truth in this?

– This is also not true. A substantial proportion of women – about 25-30% – conceive after the first treatment.

– Is it worth repeating an IVF procedure if the first treatment was not successful?

– Definitely. The chances of success after several procedures is higher than the chance after the first treatment.  In the United States, professionals conducted a study of 250,000 women undergoing assisted reproduction procedures over the course of 5 years. For women in the under 30 years age group, total pregnancy outcome was 78%. However for the same age group, pregnancy rates after the first procedure were 50%. But with increasing age the chances of getting pregnant in any case do decline.

– Do assisted reproduction procedures increase the birth rate of “different” children?

– It is always hard to predict what people expect and what they have in mind when they say “different”.

Photo by: 123rf

Perhaps they will be ‘different’ because they are very long awaited, and probably more loved and spoiled.

If there are fears of an increased risk of birth defects, they really doesn’t need to be. It is true that after certain highly complex procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), using sperm with more severe abnormalities, minor anomalies, or certain organ malformations can be 1-2% cent more likely. Most of it is kidney, urinary tract, reproductive organs, and heart and vascular lesions, but as I said, it is only a small anomaly.

But it should be kept in mind that these procedures are not advised or performed for those who are unhealthy or with certain disorders.

It is often thought that the children born by assisted reproductive techniques will also be infertile, and they will need to apply the same procedures themselves. The reality disproves this myth too. Infertility is not hereditary. If your mother had trouble conceiving, it does not mean that it will be the same for you.

For example, the first girl born with an assisted fertilization procedure – who is now 35 years old  -successfully became pregnant and gave birth to two healthy children.

 How Body Bureau Can Help:

There are many reasons a couple experience difficulties in conceiving, but Body Bureau can help. We have regular London consultations for treatment that takes place in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city. As an EU country it abides but all the same high standards and regulations and is in the UK but at about 50% (IVF only from £1275) of the price of other private health and IVF clinics. Also we can offer affordable Egg, Sperm, Embryo donation services in our partner clinic in Prague, Czech Republic.

No waiting lists, success rates above UK average, newest methods, assessment consultations and after-care in London, most modern clinics. For more information and book an appointment, call us NOW 0207 617 7301 or email us info@bodybureau.co.uk.

More about our infertility treatments.

Over 5 Million Babies Born Thanks to Assisted Reproduction

Around 180,000 IVF babies are born each year in the UK but that’s nothing on the total born using assisted reproduction techniques (ART).

It was recently announced that the total the amount of babies born in the world using ART methods since 1978 – the year the first IVF baby was born – is 5 million.

Richard Kennedy, from the International Federation of Fertility Societies said: ‘The number of babies born through ART is now about the same as the population of a U.S. state such as Colorado, or a country such as Lebanon or Ireland. This is a great medical success story. 

IVF was pioneered by Sir Robert Edwards, who died earlier this year, and by Dr Patrick Steptoe. Their technique led to the birth of Louise Brown on July 25, 1978, at Oldham General Hospital.

The treatment involved an egg being removed from one of her mother’s ovaries with a probe before being mixed with her father’s sperm in a petri dish – not a test tube. The resulting embryo was implanted in Mrs Brown’s womb two days later.

Mrs Brown was not the first woman to become pregnant after IVF treatment, but none of the previous pregnancies had lasted for more than a few weeks.

Most remarkably, half of those 5 million IVF babies have been born in just the last six years, showing the growth and spread of the treatment created to help women who have trouble conceiving.

Scientists have been looking at new techniques to ensure healthier children. One controversial method, known as “three-parent IVF,” allows doctors to implant the mitochondria of the mother into an empty donor egg and then fertilise it with sperm from the father.

A UK child was recently the first to be born using an IVF technique called next generation sequencing, which allowed doctors to screen potential embryos for diseases and other problems.

Many of the 180,000 IVF babies born in the UK are actually conceived abroad due to the high cost of private healthcare in Britain. Body Bureau helps clients by sending them to their clinics in Lithuania, Poland and Czech Republic, recently voted top medical tourism destinations.

We also have a London clinic for consultations and preparation meaning patients only need to travel for the actual procedure, and are away for just 5-6 days. More information and prices here.