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Myths About IVF and Older Women

First, conception is not impossible at an older age, as natural conception can still occur, especially for younger women within this age group. Clinicians can help older women by monitoring their cycles. A clinician can help these patients by understanding their cycles using ultrasound and modifying them slightly to correct minor abnormalities in the cycle. It should be understood that with older women there is a constant decrease in egg quality and quantity and as these patients are usually left with less time to conceive.

Another myth that is believed is that IVF fails more often. It is the egg quality and the quantity that suffers, not the uterus or endometrium. If IVF fails often, it is due to the egg quality or an abnormal chromosome in the egg, which leads to the development of an embryo not sustainable for life. Therefore, preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) of embryos is done in these women with advanced maternal age to identify the compatible embryo that can be transferred into the uterus. A third myth is pregnancy is harmful for older women. It is a ubiquitous assumption however, as not everyone of that age group experiences problems in pregnancy. The common problems are preeclampsia, diabetes, an increased risk of caesarean, and preterm labor. Risk evaluation before conception and in early pregnancy, careful monitoring during pregnancy, and adequate rest can help the practitioner and patient to identify problems early. Another myth that is stated is IVF always leads to birth defects. While there may be a slightly higher risk of birth defects with IVF, the majority of children born through IVF do not have any birth defects. The risk factors contributing to infertility itself can also play a role in birth defect rates. IVF always results in multiple pregnancies is a widely believed myth as well. IVF protocol has changed over the years, making it easier to precisely control how many embryos can be transferred. Transferring a single blastocyst reduces the risk of having multiple pregnancy. This makes pregnancy safer for both the mother and the baby.

Lastly IVF guarantees pregnancy success. Success rate depends on the enumeration of many factors. Factors such as age, quality, number of embryos, and treatment plan. IVF has assisted many women to get pregnant, but it's important to realize that to improve the chances of success there are certain additional procedures required especially in older women. Improvements in technology and personalized treatment plans have improved success rate even for older women.

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