Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Vitro Fertilization Gives You The Opportunity To Become Pregnant But It Is Never A Guarantee: Perseverance Is Key!

Something I have been thinking about as I read through infertility blogs & remarks on Facebook, which I think needs to be clarified and clearly understood by all fertility patients. There is a general misconception that In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is the "be all" fertility treatment. It is the ultimate "magical" treatment that will get everyone or anyone pregnant. This could not be further from the truth. IVF CANNOT make you pregnant. It can only give you the OPPORTUNITY to become pregnant, by making and placing embryos into the "womb". From that point on, it is in God's or Nature's hands. IVF also CANNOT give you a baby. That is propaganda that has been propagated by SART and the CDC through the use of their "delivery rate" statistic.

Yes, our goal is for you to have a baby. That is what we and you want. But to think that we have an ability to make that happen, and to use that as a measure of IVF success is misleading. We, as infertility specialists, and IVF as a treatment, have absolutely no control over the pregnancy, its course, its complications or its outcome. That too is in God's or Nature's hands. Any pregnancy, whether it is a chemical pregnancy, miscarriage or continuing pregnancy, is an IVF success because the limit of IVF is to give you the chance to get pregnant. Getting a positive pregnancy test and losing the pregnancy is a sad outcome, but at the same time should give you hope. It showed that the IVF worked, and if it can work once, it can work again and hopefully, result in a baby the next time! Perseverance will get you the baby that you want, although the pathway to that dream may sometimes take you in a different direction from your original intended route.

Edward Ramirez, MD, FACOG
Monterey Bay IVF


  1. Hi Dr. Ramirez.

    Again, another well-written post. I think so many women (myself included) put all of our eggs (literally and figuratively!) into that IVF basket thinking "this must work" or "this is my final shot" that then when a cycle gets canceled or a miscarriage occurs after a successful transfer, the emotional recovery is that much more difficult.

    My husband and I were fortunate that our IVF cycle did end up in a successful embryo transfer and subsequent pregnancy on the first try, but I know that this is not always the norm. In fact, I've always said that of our 14 eggs retrieved, 9 that fertilized, 2 that made it to transfer and 1 that implanted that ultimately God was the final physician calling the shots.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I finally delivered our baby boy. Luke Alexander arrived 4-weeks ago today at a healthy 8 lbs 12 oz. He was our 2nd healthy, spontaneous conception after our successful IVF pregnancy.

    Who'd think that the couple that were told they had a less than 1% chance of ever conceiving on their own, would go on to do so TWICE after IVF/ICSI AND after the age of 35!!! Today (8/26) I turned 41 and am the proud mama of a 4-week old infant!

    Thanks for all the good work you do to help women and couples struggling with infertility and don't hesitate to drop by to see pics of our newest arrival! We think he's pretty darn cute!

    Valerie, 41
    Mary Catherine (IVF/ICSI, 2004) age 6
    Benjamin (spontaneous conception) age 3
    Luke (spontaneous conception) age 4-weeks

  2. Valerie, it is so good to hear from one of my dedicated followers such good, great news! Congratulations to you and your husband on your baby boy! I must return the compliment for your well written comment on my post...I really appreciate having the patient's point of view so that others can take heart from your example. I have had other patients who have gone on, after IVF or IUI's, to have babies spontaneously as you did. Pregnancy sometimes has a way of "fixing" whatever was wrong before (like endometriosis) and allowing natural pregnancies to follow. It is good to see that that was the case with you! Thanks again for taking the time, which you probably have less of now :), to respond to my post! EJR, MD

  3. Dr. Ramirez,
    Thank you for becoming the most recent follower of my blog. I am a frequent lurker here and have recieved much information on your blog and through the information, comfort. Thank you for being such an advocate for us.


  4. hello doctor,
    i have been reading for quite some time and truly enjoy your posts. i think this post of mine might help you the next time you want to link to some friends ;).
    also, i was hoping you would weigh in on the many many reports about how relaxing helps conception. i don't think people realize how the blanket term "infertility" can stand in for a myriad of conditions, disorders or diseases. instead of "infertility" im going to start saying "a condition that causes me not to be able to conceive without assistance" whew! mouthful!
    anyway, i think that if people heard it from you (though im not sure how many people read who don't already understand the idea) they may understand better that no amount of relaxing is going to give me back my R ovary and tube or realign my L side to allow for natural conception. thanks for listening and i hope my link helps you!

  5. Thank-you Lis, for your comment and your link to your blog "Built In Birth Control"...on the subject of relaxing, I happened to see an article yesterday regarding a study that appeared in my medical journal Fertility & Sterility. The study was picked up by the media and as usual, widely misinterpreted. You might want to see Melissa Ford's blog post:
    "Why Just Relax Is Not Helpful Advice In The World Of Infertility"

    I know you will agree with her! EJR, MD



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