IVF Being Overused -- Patience, People, Patience!

sperm fertilizing eggOne of the things that happens when women are faced with infertility is they go to a fertility doctor who sometimes wants to get to the in vitro fertilization part right away. Sure, they try the Clomid, the Gonal-F, the IUI, and then the big guns come out. IVF. Sometimes faster than necessary. But when you are working against the clock, have a couple who really wants to have a baby, and insurance costs, that's what happens. IVF. The three letters that can instantly make a woman feel less than she should. Infertility makes us uncomfortable. It should be as easy as wanting to conceive a child and then it happens. But anyone who has faced any kind of fertility issue knows that just isn't the case. All the "fun" that comes along with making a baby gets replaced by stress, numerous doctor's visits, and expensive treatments.

But now the frequency of IVF is being questioned by the medical community.


One of my friends had IVF and it's something she doesn't like to discuss. I remember when she first told me about how she conceived -- she whispered it. IVF. As if it was a bad thing. Many feel that it is. Take a look at any article discussing infertility and the use of IVF and chances are there are barbs being thrown in the comments at the women who choose, who must, go this route in order to have a baby. They say it's not natural. They say it's not the right way to have a baby. And it's because of those people that women are afraid to talk about the fact they had the procedure in order to become pregnant.

How I see it is sometimes we need a little help to get something done.

Researchers in Australia have reported that they feel who should have IVF and when needs to be addressed. It is suggested that perhaps doctors are going that route too soon without need. Interestingly, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology do not have guidelines for IVF. Has this become a profit-based procedure? Natural birth advocates -- those opting and urging women to try to birth without the use of what many feel is unnecessary interventions (Pitocin, epidural, c-section) -- can relate. Hospitals are a business. Doctors run a business. The reality is that the more costly a procedure, the more money that is made. All of this makes me suspicious of when doctors decide to go the IVF route.

I'm not saying all doctors are like shady car repair shops and when you go in to get an oil change you end up being told you need brakes, tires, and that your muffler is close to the end of its life, but ... well, maybe some of them are exactly like that. Also, when it comes to the business of having babies, many doctors just want to please their patients. A couple comes in and has tried many holistic things, sexual positions, wives tales to make a baby. They have been trying for well over a year. They are desperate. Worried. Want a baby. Doctors have the ways and means to make that happen most times. And they have a way to make it happen faster. In today's society, fast, precision, quickness -- that instaneous need -- is all around us. Of course it's trickled into the baby-having business. Ben Willem Mol, MD, of the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues reported:

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.

It's used because of it's success rate. It's used because many of us want instant success. So IVF it is -- even though it's more invasive, expensive (over $10,000), and can produce multiples ... which could also mean selective reduction.

Maybe we are resorting to IVF too soon. Maybe some doctors and patients could be a little more patient (if age and other circumstances were on their side). Maybe this patience could be applied in all aspects of our lives. But I also feel that if it's the best option, carefully weighed, couples should be able to choose IVF without having shame or feel they have to whisper the fact.

What do you think about IVF? Are some doctors suggesting it too soon?


Image via AndreaLaurel/Flickr

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