Fertility expert Gabriela Rosa says IVF is no pregnancy panacea, despite rise in popularity
Australian-based world-renowned fertility expert, Gabriela Rosa recently told Flow FM listeners that couples are often left in the dark about the real reasons behind not being able to have a baby or more children.
Appearing on the Country Viewpoint program, Rosa said IVF treatment, for a host of complex reasons, should not be so heavily relied upon by couples struggling to conceive.
"There's a lot of stigma around fertility difficulties...but the major reason is because at peak fertility, a couple has an average of three months time for pregnancy and it is true, the majority of patients will conceive without even trying, they'll conceive accidentally or they will literally stop the pill and conceive the very next cycle - when that doesn't happen is usually because there are some underlying factors and there are some issues that are going on that aren't being uncovered," Rosa said.
"The reality is that it's [the healthcare system] really focused and designed to get the least amount of resources into the system to get the highest output...so a lot of tests and a lot of things that could be done to help uncover the difficulties of the challenges that people are experiencing are left out of the equation because it's almost like the medical system thinks that as long as you have unblocked fallopian tubes and you're ovulating and you have sperm, you should be able to get pregnant, you should be able to conceive.
"When that doesn't happen, it's almost like the knee jerk reaction of, well, then just go to IVF, but then when couples ask, why is it that I need to go to IVF? Is there anything else that I can do? They're told, 'no, no, there's nothing you can do', they get disheartened."
Rosa provided further historical context as to why IVF is not always a straightforward solution for many couples wanting to explore the benefits of the procedure known as In vitro fertilisation.
"We know that there was a wonderful paper that was published in the Journal of Human Reproduction in 2016 that demonstrated that in order to have a close to 80% life birth rate through IVF, a couple needed on average eight IVF cycles...now imagine, one IVF cycle if you're paying it privately in Australia, it's subsidised and in some places, you're still paying upwards of $10,000 per cycle," Rosa said.
"Now imagine having to do that eight times and if that wasn't enough, when we look at the actual impact on a couple's relationship, on a woman's health and the burden that it actually brings to that whole equation, it's considerable - it's not just a simple matter of injecting yourself every single day with some drugs and at the end of that time you will absolutely end up with a baby.
"It doesn't happen like that for the majority of patients, unfortunately."
Photo credit: Gabriela Rosa Facebook