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Dispelling Myths: Debunking Concerns about Multiple IVF Cycles and Hormone Injections
June 21, 2023

Many women worry about the safety of undergoing multiple IVF cycles due to concerns about the risk of hormone injections causing weight gain. They are also worried that the hormones will increase their chances of getting ovarian or breast cancer in the long run, because of the side effects they induce. Others worry that IVF will lead to early menopause because extracting too many eggs during IVF cycles will deplete their ovarian reserve and affect future fertility. However, these fears are based on myths and misconceptions.

The hormones used in IVF treatments are natural, and identical to those produced by a woman's body during her ovulatory cycle. These hormones do not accumulate in the body, as they are excreted promptly after each cycle without any long-term effects. So why do we give the hormones during an IVF cycle? The reason is simple - to save the eggs that would otherwise die naturally through a process called atresia. Let me explain.

Normally, 40 follicles start maturing in the ovary every month, while the rest undergo atresia. This is why women become menopausal – they run out of eggs over time. The reason for this is to ensure that humans usually have single pregnancies at a time, as compared to animals like rabbits, who give birth to multiple offspring at once because many of their follicles mature together. The human uterus, unlike the rabbit uterus, is designed to carry only one baby at a time! By using these natural hormones as injections in IVF treatment, we can collect more eggs and create more embryos, which increases your chance of getting pregnant.

This means IVF treatment is medically safe for both mother and baby, regardless of how many cycles you undergo. Emotional stamina may be required for repeated attempts; however, from a medical perspective, there should be no concern regarding its overall safety and effectiveness.

Yes, the process can be quite stressful, and it’s not easy to screw up your courage to do another cycle when you have encountered repeated failures. However, many women find it easier to repeat an IVF cycle since they know what to expect, so this might not be a constraint for them. This is a very personal decision – because while IVF is stressful, not having a baby can be even more stressful!

Another significant limitation is your financial capacity, as each IVF cycle is expensive. This decision should be made in partnership with your family, as only you can determine how much time, money, and energy you're willing to invest. The good news is that there are no medical risks associated with repeating as many IVF cycles as you want to!

I hope this clears up any doubts you have. If you have more questions, please feel free to email me at drmalpani@drmalpani.com

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.