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Unraveling the Truth: Debunking Common Myths about IVF in India

When a biological process takes place outside your body in conditions that mimic your body’s natural mechanism, it is defined as an ‘In Vitro’ method. Fertilisation, at the same time, refers to the fusion of the sperm with the female reproductive cell generally called ‘egg’ or ‘ovum’. 

IVF or In vitro fertilisation, is therefore, a type of ART, that is, Assisted Reproductive Technology in which the sperm and the egg are allowed to fuse outside the female body under laboratory conditions. 

The method of IVF is highly beneficial for couples who cannot conceive a child naturally. Moreover, using IVF to give birth eliminates the possibility of passing on hereditary disorders that the baby gains while developing inside the mother’s womb. 

However, despite these benefits, there are certain myths in India regarding the procedure that still prevent many couples from opting for IVF. These myths create misunderstandings ultimately scaring childless couples to the extent that they choose to stay childless even after the availability of such advanced technology. 

So, what are these myths and what is the truth behind them? Let’s find out. 

Debunking Common Myths about IVF

Here is a list of 10 of the most common (and stupid!) myths about IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) in India:

Myth 1: IVF Is Never Successful At First Attempt

The first and the most popular myth about IVF procedures is that they are “NEVER” successful in the first attempt. But the reality is quite different. While it is true that in some cases the IVF fertilisation methods may not produce successful pregnancy in the first trial itself, there are many others that have shown success in their first attempt. 

The success rate of IVF depends on factors like:

  • The woman’s age
  • The quality of the eggs and sperm 
  • Your doctor’s experience
  • IVF protocol followed

Most women who are under the age of 35 are able to achieve successful pregnancies using IVF on the first attempt. However, the success rates of IVF start declining after a woman turns above the age of 40. 

Myth 2: IVF Is Painful

Although it is true that just like any other medical procedure, IVF methods also involve some extent of discomfort, the fact that the process is extremely painful and that the severity of the pain is almost unbearable is not correct. Additionally, people often get confused between the words ‘pain’ and ‘discomfort’ and using them interchangeably creates misconceptions about IVF being an intensely painful procedure. 

But the good news is that the modern techniques used for performing IVF utilize a wide range of pain management tools and methods that help to alleviate the maximum amount of discomfort so that you can undergo the procedure with ease. 

Some examples of modern pain management techniques used in IVF include: 

  • Local Anaesthesia
  • Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Counselling services 
  • Conscious sedation with the help of intravenous administration of medications that induce relaxation and result in drowsiness
  • Nitrous oxide, also called the laughing gas is another viable method to initiate relaxation 
  • Acupuncture
  • PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia)

Myth 3: IVF Requires Complete Bed Rest

If you think that undergoing an IVF would require you to be on complete bed rest then let me break the good news to you. According to the current medical recommendations, extended bed rest is neither recommended nor compulsory along with IVF. 

Here are four reasons why complete bed rest is not recommended:

  • Being in bed for a long time results in a gradual decrease in blood circulation levels which ultimately affects the overall embryo health causing problems in its implantation. 
  • Increased bed rest means an increased level of overthinking ultimately leading to enhancements in stress and anxiety levels. Therefore patients are recommended to stay physically active to increase the success rate of IVF.
  • High immobility increases the possibility of the development of blood clots which is not good for the baby’s health. 

The activities which are typically recommended instead of bed rest include:

  • Avoiding intense exercises such as heavyweight lifting and indulging in only light physical activity.
  • Moderate walking and doing light household jobs post-IVF 
  • Drinking enough water
  • Taking a balanced diet with sufficient nutrition levels

All of the above four practices are beneficial for both the baby and the mother as they promote faster recovery of the woman who has undergone IVF along with the enhancement of the health and proper development of the baby. 

Myth 4: Baby Will Not Be Yours

Since the genetic material (egg and sperm) which is used for performing IVF is derived directly from one or both of the parents who are undergoing IVF, the baby born through it is biologically related to them. And because the baby has the genetic traits of his parents, his relations with his parents would be as pure as those shown by a baby born naturally. 

Moreover, there are legal frameworks which give parents the complete right over the child who is born through IVF. 

Myth 5: IVF Babies Are Not Normal

The scariest misconception about IVF is that the babies born through it are not normal. However, scientific research has proven that this is a completely false statement. 

According to the National Institute of Health, a large number of studies have been performed for years to study and compare the health and the behaviour of IVF-born children with that of normally conceived children. 

The outcomes of these studies have clearly indicated that IVF children did not show abnormal emotional, physical and cognitive behaviour. 

Myth 6: IVF Increases Your Risk Of Getting Cancer

Another popular myth is the belief that taking fertility drugs which may be a part of the IVF procedure increases your chances of developing cancers such as those of breasts and ovaries. There are many scientific studies which have proven the complete falsehood of the relationship between the development of cancer and IVF methods.

A study conducted on over 87,000 women in Israel in 2013 confirmed the absence of the causation of cancers of the uterus, ovaries and breasts because of IVF processes. 

Other research experiments which were performed recently in 2019 and 2020 also indicated that there was no significant difference in the risk of cancer development in women who underwent IVF when compared with those who did not. 

Myth 7: IVF Is A Traumatic Procedure

Even though it is true that initially, IVF procedures did consist of heavy dosing of hormonal medicines which resulted in extreme adverse effects, the current tools and technologies aim to minimise the discomfort and reduce IVF-related trauma.

Examples of technological advancements that assist in minimising pain and discomfort during IVF in today’s times include:

  • Use of less intense medication doses
  • Modified methods that cause mild stimulation of the ovaries
  • Maximised use of minimally invasive methods. Examples include aspiration procedures that are assisted by transvaginal ultrasound. 

Myth 8: One IVF Failure Closes Your Chances Of Success Forever

Recently, IVF has shown multiple cases of successful results in the first attempt itself. But since every couple and every situation is different, the outcomes vary for everyone. However, this does not mean that one failed attempt makes you lose your chances of becoming a parent forever. 

Aarti Gupta, the wife of Ajay Gupta was able to conceive twins at the age of 40 after undergoing 3 IVF failures one after another. 

A similar incident was reported in Philadelphia where Cathy Stefano, a patient of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), after failing to respond to two consecutive IVF cycles, was finally able to give birth to a girl child. 

Myth 9: IVF Has A 100 Percent Success Rate And IVF Can Resolve All Infertility Issues

The success rate of IVF depends on a wide variety of factors ranging from the women’s age to the quality of eggs and sperm. 

For women who are younger than 35 years, the chances of IVF success are approximately between 40% to 50%. This percentage comes down to 30% to 40%,  20% to 30%, and <10% to 15% for women who are under 37, 40 and over 40 years of age respectively. 

Apart from this, infertility issues like blockage of fallopian tubes, extreme male factor infertility, and highly progressed ovarian insufficiency can not be treated using IVF. 

Myth 10: IVF Process Requires Hospitalisation

Contrary to popular belief, the IVF process does not require complete hospitalization. Here is a list of steps which is followed to make IVF a mostly outpatient method:

  • Consultation with your fertility specialist that happens in the office of the doctor
  • Medications to stimulate your ovaries are given. The patient can take these medications conveniently from the comfort of their home without the need for hospitalisation. 
  • Other steps include egg retrieval, actual fertilisation, embryo transfer, post-transfer surveillance and finally pregnancy testing. 

None of the above steps call for the need for hospitalisation. However, in the cases where complications develop, hospitalization might be recommended. 

Understanding the IVF Process

The 4 primary steps involved in the process of IVF are explained below. 

Step 1: Ovulation Induction

Also called Ovarian stimulation, the first step of IVF involves the administration of FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone) into the female body. These hormones trigger the release of multiple eggs in the ovaries. 

Common misconceptions associated with ovulation induction include—

  • Early Menopause – Although it is true that ovulation induction causes a temporary suppression of the female’s natural menstrual cycle, there is no evidence of it causing early menopause. 
  • Depletion of egg supply
  • Extreme weight gain
  • OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome)

Step 2: Egg Retrieval

Once the eggs reach the state of maturation, they are collected to proceed further with the IVF process. 

Egg Retrieval Procedure:

  • Following ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval is initiated approximately 34-36 hours of hormonal administration. The process is carried out in an outpatient setting with the use of anaesthesia to maximise patient comfort.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound is utilised to have a clear view of the ovaries and the follicles.
  • A thin and hollow needle is inserted into the mature follicles and the eggs are collected with the help of needle aspiration technique. 
  • A microscope is used for the examination and identification of the eggs followed by their isolation.
  • The last step consists of storing the eggs in an incubator.

The recovery process involves the patient’s monitoring in a separate recovery room for a short duration as the effects of sedation and anaesthesia fade out. Once the patient becomes alert and stable, she is given recovery instructions like light physical activity guidelines and pain management tips. The patient is then finally discharged. 

Step 3: Fertilisation and Embryo Development

The laboratory where embryo development takes place maintains a sterile environment and is well-equipped with incubators, microscopes and temperature-controlling equipment to create an environment that replicates the natural reproductive environment. 

The process of fertilisation comprises three crucial steps:

  • Sperm Preparation 
  • Insemination
  • Monitoring

The process of embryo development involves the following:

  • The culture medium used for embryo development in IVF is specially formulated in a way that closely replicates the female reproductive area during the time of embryo growth. 
  • Some laboratories might utilise time-lapse imaging to keep a constant and careful watch on the growing embryo without disturbing or interfering with its development. 
  • Multiple embryos are then assessed for quality, appearance and the potential for healthy development. The process is called embryo grading and it helps in the selection of the most suitable embryo for implantation.
  • Sometimes, the embryo may be cultured for some extra days. This stage is called the blastocyst stage and it assists In the selection of the best quality of embryos for transfer to increase the chances of IVF success. 

Step 4: Embryo Transfer

  1. The last step involves the implantation of the selected embryo into the uterus of the female. The process involves—
  1. The uterine lining of the female is prepared by giving her hormonal medications so that it becomes receptive to embryo implantation.
  1. The woman is asked to empty her bladder because having a full bladder might increase pain and discomfort during embryo transfer.
  1. The catheter is placed into the uterus by insertion through the cervix. Catheter placement usually doesn’t require any kind of anaesthesia but depending on the female’s pain tolerance levels mild sedatives might be given in some cases. 
  1. After the successful positioning of the catheter, the embryos are finally placed into the uterine cavity through gentle pushing. 
  1. Finally, the woman will be asked to rest and lie down for approximately 15 to 30 minutes as the embryo settles into her uterus. 

Top IVF Clinics in India

Here is the list of the top 5 IVF and breast augmentation clinics in India:

1. Fortis Memorial Research Institute

Located in Gurgaon, India the Fortis Memorial Research Institute is a multi-specialty hospital established in the year 2013. Having a total of 200 doctors and 1000 beds, the hospital has accreditations from Joint Commission International (JCL), NABH and NABL. Dr Anil Kumar Behl who specialises in plastic and cosmetic surgery and has 32 years of experience in performing procedures like breast augmentation, liposuction, gynecomastia etc. practises here. 

2. PVR IVF Centre (Delhi)

A New Delhi-based IVF clinic, the PVR IVF Centre is one of India’s best places to find services like:

  • Fertility Preservation
  • IVF: In Vitro Fertilisation
  • IUI: Intrauterine Insemination
  • PGT: Preimplantation Genetic Testing
  • ICSI: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection 
  • Surrogacy
  • Egg Freezing
  • Egg and sperm donation programmes

PVR IVF Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and has highly experienced medical professionals to assist in providing you with the best quality fertility services.

3. Akanksha IVF Centre

Located in the Anand area of Gujarat, Akanksha IVF Centre is another well-known name that provides successful IVF programmes along with one of the best surrogacy services in India. 

The hospital also offers other services like artificial insemination, ICSI, sperm, egg and embryo donation etc. Having 28 years of experience in providing fertility services, Akanksha IVF Centre has successfully produced more than 20 Thousand IVF babies and 1680 Surrogate babies across all Branches located in Rajasthan, Delhi and Gujarat.

4. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital 

Established in 1996,  Indraprastha Apollo Hospital offers 52 specialties and is accredited by JCL and NABL. The group has a wide network of 64 hospitals that provide specialised services in fields like plastic and reconstructive surgery, IVF, Paediatrics, Orthopaedics,  Foetal Medicine, Gynaecology etc. 

5. Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon

Artemis Hospital is another super speciality hospital established in the year 2007 in Gurgaon, India. It was the first hospital in Gurgaon to achieve Accreditation by JCL and NABL. The hospital is well furnished with the latest equipment like Tesla MRI and has 40 specialties. It offers a wide range of services including cosmetic and plastic surgeries, paediatric cardiology, transplant surgery, IVF, rheumatology etc. 


All in all, whether it is the abnormal development of IVF babies or the requirement of complete bed rest, most of the myths revolving around IVF methods have no scientific evidence and therefore they are not true. Moreover, the use of minimally invasive procedures for egg retrieval and embryo transfer has made IVF one of the best options for childless couples. 

Ultimately, IVF has become a transformative aspect generating hope and clearing the path to parenthood for many in today’s times. 


When should one visit a fertility clinic to achieve pregnancy?

One should visit a fertility clinic to achieve pregnancy when pregnancy does not occur after one year of regular unprotected intercourse. 

Visiting a clinic is necessary to identify the underlying infertility issue and initiate the most appropriate treatment to increase the chances of achieving pregnancy.

Khushhi IVF

Khushhi IVF, founded by Dr. Dipesh Sorathiya, brings a wealth of experience with over a decade in fertility treatments, having assisted 10,000+ patients and conducted 5,000+ procedures. Driven by a commitment to provide cutting-edge yet ethical fertility solutions, Khushhi IVF prioritizes an all-encompassing approach that addresses patients’ physical, emotional, and financial needs, while ensuring economical and standardized care.

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