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30 Women Share Unspoken Realities of IVF

Published by: Allure. Read the full article.

I missed my deadline for this story. When I started reporting it in February, I was in the middle of my fifth round of embryo freezing, the first of two main parts of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. Everything was on track until, just as my first draft was due, an unexpected IVF-related surgery upended my calendar. (It came 10 days before another surgery, this one long-scheduled.) I don’t miss deadlines. But IVF doesn’t care about your plans.

You probably know someone who’s going through IVF right now or has in the past. Maybe you’ve gone through it yourself. Infertility is incredibly common, impacting one in six adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In my experience, however, while most people know of IVF, they don’t understand the details—unless they’re in the one out of six. As a result, there are all sorts of misconceptions about how IVF actually works. Misconception #1: That it always does work.

Before I go any further, a quick science lesson: The in vitro part of IVF means that fertilization is being done in a lab instead of in a fallopian tube. “We take the eggs outside the body and fertilize each one individually with sperm,” explains Banafsheh (Bana) Kashani, MD, a double board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist in Laguna Hills, California. “If the egg is fertilized by sperm, it becomes an embryo that we culture in the lab till it becomes a blastocyst and then we transfer it into the uterus, where it will hopefully attach and the woman will become pregnant.

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