IVF risks may outweigh benefits


In a recent analysis, it has been suggested that IVF may be overused and that the risks of the treatment may possibly outweigh the benefits. In vitro fertilization was initially created to address infertility caused by fallopian tube disorders and men who were severely infertile. In recent years, its use has grown to include other conditions of infertility including unexplained fertility problems.

IVF may simply be unnecessary for many couples

Unexplained fertility accounts for around 25-30% of couples undergoing IVF treatment. When not treated with IVF right away, most of these couples are able to conceive naturally before treatment. “In a cohort of 500 Dutch subfertile couples with an average almost 2 years of unexplained subfertility, 60% conceived naturally after the initial assessment in the fertility clinic. Other observational studies have confirmed natural conceptions in couples with subfertility for 2-3 years,” explained the experts. “It seems that a short delay in treatment does not affect ovarian reserve in such a way that more couples will end up childless.”

Extended use may harm mother and child

“Multiple pregnancies are associated with maternal and perinatal complications such as gestational diabetes, fetal growth restriction, and preeclampsia as well as premature birth. And even singletons born through IVF have been shown to have worse outcomes than those conceived naturally,” the analysis states. There may also be concerns about the long-term health of babies born through IVF. Many have higher blood pressure, adiposity, glucose levels and more generalized vascular abnormalities compared with children born naturally. “These effects seem to be related to the IVF procedure itself rather than to underlying subfertility,” they added.

IVF has become a profit center

“IVF has evolved in many parts of the world as a profit-generating industry that values the money brought in by immediate gains of pregnancy and live birth over long-term considerations about the health of the mothers and children,” they write. Couples need to be presented with all the evidence, pro and con, regarding use of IVF.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, BMJ


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