Despite the fact more than 60,000 couples have IVF every year, (us being one 2015’s crop!) there’s still rather a lot of myths surrounding infertility and assisted conception.
So, when the new Bourn Hall clinic opened in Wickford earlier this year I got chatting to one of the fertility nurses and asked her to dispel some of the more common…
MYTH – If a woman is born with no uterus (womb) it is not biologically possible for her to be a mother
FACT – If a woman has no uterus but has working ovaries then she still may be producing eggs. Having some of her eggs removed and fertilised with her partner’s sperm and arranging for a surrogate to carry her child is an option which some women choose. Bourn Hall was the first clinic to provide surrogacy with IVF.
MYTH – “Test-tube babies” are “made” in test tubes
FACT – Although embryology labs do have test tubes they are mainly for storage purposes not the actual process of IVF. The process of mixing the sperm with the eggs is actually done in a petri dish!
MYTH – If a man has a very low sperm count or even a sperm count of zero it is not possible for him to father a child
FACT – Bourn Hall Clinic male fertility experts speak to men in their clinics all the time who have been told that they will never be biological fathers. A technique called Micro-TESE can extract testicular tissue and examine it for sperm. In about 50 per cent of men who have undergone the procedure sperm has been found. IVF treatment can then take place using a procedure called ICSI where the retrieved sperm is injected directly in to the woman’s egg.
MYTH – It is not possible to become a mum when a woman is going through the menopause
FACT – Baby girls are born with millions of eggs but by the age of 35 about 95 per cent will have been lost and the remainder will be of poorer quality. When a woman is going through the menopause it is still possible for her to become pregnant however until she has gone two years without having a period. In the UK the average age for a woman to go through the menopause is 51, but 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before they have reached 40. For some women who are aware from their family history that they are likely to go through an early menopause and they still have viable eggs it is now possible to freeze their eggs for future IVF treatment. Those who have already had a premature menopause and have no viable eggs may consider IVF treatment using donor eggs.