40 years on from the first IVF baby: Here are 5 common myths you should stop believing

10th Nov 17 | Lifestyle

We debunk some of the most common myths on the internet about IVF.

Beautiful pregnant woman at home.

Exactly 40 years ago today, British woman Lesley Brown became the first woman to fall pregnant and conceive a baby through in-vitro fertilisation.

Since then, some six million babies have been born by the pioneering process, whereby an egg is fertilised with sperm outside the body.

But despite it being widely available for four decades, many people are still in the dark about what’s true and what’s false when it comes to IVF – and there are plenty of urban myths about the about the process floating about on the internet.

Here we debunk some of the most common ones you might read about.

1.  IVF takes away your eggs and diminishes your reserve

A woman is born with over 400,000 eggs, and from that number she’ll only require 400 in her lifetime. At the beginning of each monthly cycle, a woman’s body recruits a group of around 20 eggs that could get stimulated. Normally, only one or two grow to the point of being released while the remaining remaining 18 or 19 die. IVF collects the eggs that would otherwise not be utilised, and stimulates them so they all have an opportunity to mature. This process doesn’t affect subsequent future cycles.

2. Freezing your eggs makes them less effective

You might have heard that freezing your eggs makes them weaker and less effective, however, this is complete myth. Patients who use frozen eggs have the same chances of success as those who use fresh eggs.

3. IVF causes ovarian cancer

Alongside breast cancer, there once were growing concerns that IVF put a woman at risk for ovarian cancer. But the authors of a 2013 meta-analysis of studies involving more than 180,000 women and published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that there was “no convincing evidence of an increase in the risk of invasive ovarian tumours with fertility drug treatment.”

4. Certain foods can increase IVF success

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that eating pineapple every day, avoiding gluten, or following any specific diet plan has an effect on IVF success. However, as with any pregnancy, it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet which is full of fruits and vegetables and lean protein.

We won, my boy. 🖤 #ivfsuccess #babylistbabes #inspirepregnancy

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5. IVF is always successful

Sadly, this is not true. The NHS say that women under 35 have a 32% chance of conception, and this percentage decreases the older you get. As well as age, there are other factors that can affect the success rate of IVF, including the quality of the embryos and the response of the ovaries. Despite this, IVF is still a very effective treatment – and one of the best options out there for couples who are having issues conceiving.

© Press Association 2017