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Questions you probably are afraid to ask about IVF, Part 1.

IVF (in vitro fertilization) means fertilization outside of the body and it is the most effective assisted reproduction technique. Are there questions about IVF you probably are afraid to ask? If yes, we got you covered!

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It is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. Doctors prescribe a drug to the woman, which causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed from the woman and they are put in a dish in the lab along with the man’s sperm for fertilization. After 3 to 5 days, healthy embryos are implanted in the woman’s uterus. Greece takes pride in being one of the best IVF destinations with top-notch clinics and doctors. Its success rate is above 50% and the procedure costs less than other European countries.

So, which are the most frequent questions we hear about IVF?

1. Are IVF babies healthy? 

The first-ever “test-tube baby” was born in 1978, so scientists haven’t yet gathered a large pool of data to be 100% sure of the answer, but overall IVF babies do not show any signs of bad health. If there are any congenital abnormalities in the child, it may not be a direct result of the IVF treatment. It could possibly be the effect of abnormalities in the sperm or eggs of the partners involved as a result of infertility itself. A study in Australia used questionnaires and a three-hour medical screening of each individual who was conceived by IVF, and they found no evidence of heart, growth, metabolic or respiratory problems. ART conceived boys also seemed to have lower blood pressures. However, IVF-conceived adults reported suffering from asthma as a child. This disparity was not noticed during adulthood. 

2. Can twins be born with IVF? 

Women have higher chances of twins pregnancy with IVF treatment. The chances of twins in a normal pregnancy is around 6% while the chances of twins with IVF reach up to 25%. Keep in mind that maternal age, the overall health of the mother, body type, and family health history are some of the factors that affect the success of the treatment.

3. Does IVF cause hair loss? 

There are various direct and indirect factors related to IVF that could potentially cause certain types of women’s hair loss. The first potential cause of hair loss in women undergoing IVF has to do with the hormone manipulation that is part of the IVF process. Because the hair system is extremely sensitive to changes that occur elsewhere in the body, hormonal flux can result in the condition diffuse thinning, where hair appears thinner all over the scalp but there are no ‘bald spots’. It’s also possible that the genetic condition of female pattern hair loss has been triggered due to hormonal change and also the potential stress that surrounds IVF treatment. There is no reason to be skeptical about the process as all of the above are curable and doctors will give you the right instructions to solve any hair-related problems.

4. Do IVF injections hurt?

In the majority of circumstances, IVF injections don’t involve much pain. At the same time, it’s important to note that pain is subjective. All injections can elicit a slight but temporary stinging sensation, and this is often the most pain you will feel during this phase of the IVF process. 

5. IVF or artificial insemination?

IVF has higher success rates than IUI. Artificial insemination is considerably less expensive than IVF and less invasive. It is generally recommended that couples try three rounds of IUI before moving on to IVF. Their main difference is that in IUI fertilization takes place internally, meaning the sperm is injected directly into the woman’s uterus. So, if fertilization is successful, the embryo implants there as well.

6. What is the difference between IVF and ICSI?

IVF and ICSI are two common assisted reproduction techniques in which eggs are fertilized outside the body. IVF is usually used for female infertility or unexplained infertility and ICSI for male infertility. Their main difference is that in ICSI each egg is individually injected with a single sperm, bypassing the stage where the sperm has to naturally penetrate the egg. Cases that ICSI is used are when:

  • sperm count is very low
  • sperm motility isn’t normal
  • there are high levels of antibodies in semen
  • previous IVF attempts were not successful

7. Should I undertake IVF if I have ovarian cancer?

If you did not have a total hysterectomy as part of your treatment it may be possible for you to explore IVF. If you had a total hysterectomy with your uterus and ovaries removed you may want to explore other options such as surrogacy and adoption. All talks should involve your doctors, to give you the right guidance and help.

8. I am single, can I perform IVF in Greece?

For any type of treatment to be performed in a single woman, according to Greek Law, she must sign a notarial deed in the presence of a notary and an official translator, stating that she is seeking fertility treatment on her own to have a child. This rule also applies to same-sex female couples, one of the two partners should sign the deed.

a mother with a daughter and a dog, painted on a blackboard.

9. Will IVF work if I have endometriosis?

Endometriosis indeed affects fertility. Between 35%-50% of women with this condition have difficulty conceiving. IVF works well if you have the condition, but you will surely need special monitoring, and your fertility medications must be managed very carefully because they can temporarily trigger symptoms of endometriosis. Becoming pregnant often relieves the discomfort of endometriosis, though once your child is born, you will need to resume your treatment.

10. What are the IVF protocols in Greece?

In conventional IVF two types of protocols are commonly used; the long and the short one. The drugs used in both protocols are the same; however, the dosages and the period administered are different. The physician reviews the patient’s records (woman’s age, response to medication, and the outcome of previous attempts) and determines which protocol will be used for the upcoming treatment cycle.

Learn more about IVF in Greece.

For any other question, MEDIPASS is here. We are constantly trying to give you the safe and personalized fertility journey you deserve, a journey you should not do alone.

Request a quote or book a free call with our customer success manager to further guide you along the process.

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Questions you probably are afraid to ask about IVF, Part 1.