IVF Is Not Always Your Best Option
Professor Robert Winston, one of the founding fathers of IVF, has recently published his new book, The Essential Fertility Guide, in which he outlines
fertility treatment options suggesting that IVF is not always your best option for infertility treatment.
For many people there is no other experience that matches the birth of a baby in significance, yet one in every seven couples in the UK struggle with infertility. There are variable reasons for this and a number of treatments available for optimizing their chances of having a baby.
However, there is also a lot of misinformation out there about infertility treatment, so experts say people should be careful about which advice they heed. Especially in the private sector where expensive IVF, which only has a 25 per cent success rate, is a highly profitable industry. The fact that a large number of patients address to private clinics for solving their infertility problems could perhaps explain why many people assume the best option for overcoming infertility is IVF (in vitro fertilisation), which according to Professor Winston is often not the case.
When patients meet with their doctor they are often surprised to learn that IVF may not be their first treatment option for infertility. In reality IVF technique is used far too often before other, usually cheaper and less stressful options, are fully explored. For that reason it is highly recommended for patients to go through a thorough investigation in order to find out the exact cause of their infertility and have a clear idea about why they need IVF. Prof. Winston adds that most of the infertile couples do not require such a complex treatment and often expectant treatment, ie. waiting to get pregnant, is likely to be more effective than IVF.
It is advisable for infertile patients to start with low tech treatments. Starting with the simplest, most affordable treatment options first and move up to more advanced treatments as medically indicated, is the best way to deal with it.”There are numerous causes of infertility,” says Prof. Winston, “and the best treatment may be different in each circumstance.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an example of a low tech treatment frequently requiring less medication and fewer monitoring appointments with a lower cost. Depending on the cause, other alternatives to IVF could be drug treatments to encourage ovulation, laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery or treatment for endometriosis.