The 4 commonly asked questions about IVF
Q: Am I going to go through menopause early?
A: No. Each month when you get a period a group of eggs starts to develop. The brain only makes enough fertility hormones that one (rarely two or three, eggs develop hence twins and triplets), but you still lose that whole cohort of eggs coming along that month.
Q: Is there an increased risk of birth defects associated with in vitro fertilization?
A: For the most part, no. We are not changing the wife’s eggs, we are not changing the husband’s sperm, we are simply allowing sperm and egg to unite. So, in general, there is not an increased risk of genetic/congenital anomalies. The exception to this is in cases of very severe male factor (typically counts 2 million or less), i.e., some of these males will have a genetic reason why their counts are so low and pass these genes on. There is a slightly increased risk of congenital anomalies associated with babies born from IVF, this is felt largely due to the increased incidence of multiple pregnancies as a result of transferring more than one embryo.
Q: What to do with our remaining cryopreserved embryos?
A: There are three or potentially four options for embryo disposition.
You can continue to store the embryos and use these to establish another pregnancy. Frequently couples change their mind after 2-3 years and come back wanting another child. The great majority of couples end up using all of their cryopreserved embryos.
Embryos can be donated to the donor embryo adoption program. There are many couples who embryo adoption is an ideal way to start their family. The Florida Institute for Reproductive Medicine has one of the busiest donor embryo programs in the country.
Embryos can be thawed and discarded.
Some couples have opted to donate embryos for stem cell research.
Q: Is IVF painful?
A: IVF fertility shots are given by subcutaneous injections, (very small needle), they are usually described as painful. As eggs develop the capsule of the ovary gets more and more distended, some individuals feel this, they usually describe this as a pressure sensation. Egg retrieval is done under IV sedation, liquid valium makes you very sleepy, you are given a narcotic so that you do not feel pain. If the patient was feeling pain, they would be moving and we would not be able to retrieve their eggs.