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In vitro fertilization

Be Aware of the Costs and Risks of In Vitro Fertilization

Thursday, March 04, 2010 by: Iva Keene
Tags: in vitro fertilization, side effects, health news

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(NewsTarget) Assisted reproductive technology has its place and sometimes it`s the only viable option for infertile couples. Having said that, even if one chooses that option without trying natural methods it is possible to combine both. For example in vitro fertilization - IVF (the fertilization of an egg in an artificial environment outside the body) can be combined with natural fertility in order to double the chances of success with ART (assisted reproductive technology). Many reproductive specialists are now advising their clients to utilize natural fertility first.

A study by Foresight, the Association for Pre-conceptual Healthcare in the United Kingdom found couples going through IVF are up to 47% more successful if they used pre-conceptual health care (a component of natural fertility) first.

The same study demonstrated an astounding success rate of 81% of conceptions among couples previously diagnosed as infertile. Among those who conceived there were no miscarriages, no perinatal deaths, no malformations and no newborn admissions to intensive care. Women who participated in the study were between 25 and 45 years old and Men between 25 and 59 years old.

Financial Costs of ART

In the US an average IVF cycle costs between $10,000 and $15,000. Analysts report costs of roughly $35,000 per delivery in younger women, while medical costs per delivery are over $132,000 for women over 40.

Additional charges apply if one chooses a donor, artificial insemination and freezing, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) and PGD (Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis). The health insurance may not even cover the newer procedures as they have only been around for a short time and the risk factors as well as generational effects have not yet been established. Besides for women over 40 IVF is up to 4 times less cost effective.

Health Dangers of ART

Studies show IVF drugs are dangerous to the health of mothers and babies and there`s no clear evidence they increase a woman`s chance of conceiving. Multiple studies have documented the high risk of birth deformity and severe health problems associated with IVF births. Dr. Alastair Sutcliffe of the Institute of Child Health at University College London and Dr. Michael Ludwid of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecologic Endocrinology in Hamburg, did a study where they examined 3,980 articles in medical and scientific journals published between 1980 and 2005. The study observed significantly higher risks of long-term medical problems for children conceived via artificial means such as IVF and ICSI. The doctors advised children born from IVF be monitored well into the adulthood as there are no long term data available about their health as adults.

The study showed that there is:

■20%-34% higher risk of miscarriage
■55% increased risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy)
■155% increased risk of stillbirth
■170%-200% increased risk of very low birth rate

Furthermore Dr. Geeta Nargund, head of reproductive medicine at St. George Hospital in London, warned about consequences for a woman`s reproductive organs later in life, especially uterine cancer. Dr. Nargund pointed out that IVF drugs used by fertility clinics are unregulated, and since the existing guidelines are not binding fertility clinics are free to prescribe dangerously high doses of drugs without knowing the long term consequences.

Taking all this into account it seems fair to say that IVF should only be used once other options have been exhausted. Couples with fertility issues should be aware of the side effects of IVF and leave it as the last option, after they`ve optimized their natural fertility which will only make them healthier in the long run and improve their odds of conception.


Perloe, Mark. "Duration, Cost of IVF Treatment". 8 May 2009

White, Hilary. "More Health Risks Found in IVF Babies - Scientist Suggests IVF Children Should be Monitored into Adulthood". 27 July 2007 <http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jul/070....

Keene, Iva. Natural Fertility Prescription. Switzerland: ANT, 2008.

About the author

Iva Keene ND is a leading fertility specialist and internationally recognized naturopath. She is the author of the Natural Fertility Prescription; a home study course that walks you through 8 steps to optimal fertility. Iva’s Blog, http://www.natural-fertility-prescription.co... , an invaluable resource for couples wanting to get pregnant, offers hundreds of tips for boosting fertility naturally and addressing infertility conditions.

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