Common misconceptions about conception through fertility treatments

SEATTLE - With millions of people battling infertility around the world, we wanted to tackle some of the common myths and misconceptions associated with fertility treatments.

Here's what Dr. Lora Shahine of Pacific NW Fertility says:


IVF can fix anything.  (False.)

IVF (in-vitro fertilization) may be an advanced, scientific approach to helping people through infertility, but it's not a fix-all, and it doesn't always work.

"IVF is amazing, it's wonderful; we can do things today that we couldn't even do five years ago, and the technology is only getting better and better," she says. "But IVF is only as good as the people we're helping- it's only as good as the eggs and sperm that we have to work with."

If I do fertility treatments, I'll probably have twins. (False.)

"People are terrified to do IVF because they assume we're going to put in more embryos than just one. And that's absolutely not the case. You actually have more control over multiples with IVF because you can just put in one embryo."

I can easily have a baby in my late 40s or 50s.

(Not entirely false, but not exactly true.)

"You look at People Magazine and US Weekly and all these stars are having babies in their late 40s," Dr. Shahine tells us. "You know, Janet Jackson canceled her world tour to have a baby at 50. And it's amazing how many phone calls we get the next day after a cover like that- 'OK, do that for me!'"

" What people don't know is that it's not necessarily true that these celebrities are conceiving with IVF. "If someone's conceiving after the age of 45, it's very common they're conceiving with donor eggs. Not always- but there's only so much that IVF can do."

IVF is the only way to treat infertility. (False.)

IVF is what Dr. Shahine refers to as a "high-tech" option, as it means you are controlling a lot more variables (getting the eggs and sperm out of the body and fertilizing in a lab, then putting a resulting embryo back in).

But there are low-tech options, too: "Low-tech are maybe pills that you're taking to help you ovulate or intrauterine insemination- which is like the turkey baster (method)."

Intrauterine insemination is also referred to as IUI; many people go through IUIs or even simply use medication on their path to pregnancy, without ever having to go into the higher tech options of IVF.