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IVF is not an illness:

An IVF doctor who needed IVF says it's fantastic that there's technology available to help women conceive.
By Bonita Mersiades
Date: May 11 2013
Tags: ivf,
Editor Rating:

Dr Sonya Jessup knows exactly what it’s like to be a woman trying to fall pregnant. An IVF specialist with Demeter Fertility in Sydney, she’s also had successful IVF treatment. And her greatest take-out from the experience?

“I think it’s fantastic!” she says.

“My thoughts are that there’s just too much negative feeling around about IVF but when you think about it, how lucky are we to be living in an age where it’s possible? Twenty or 30 years ago couples who had trouble conceiving had little-to-no hope but the technology available today can give most couples great help.”

Sonya says that research shows that the majority of women will have a successful pregnancy within four rounds of treatment.

“The biggest impediment to success for most women is the fact that they stop.”

But she says stopping is not always because of cost which can be around $3,000 with the Medicare rebate.

“There are some people for whom the cost is prohibitive but, more often than not, women stop because they don’t want to go through the cycle again.

“But just because pregnancy doesn’t happen the first time, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen in subsequent attempts.”

Sonya says her own successful IVF pregnancy – which resulted in baby Samuel – was her fourth attempt.

“There is no doubt that the easiest way to get pregnant is for it just to happen naturally,” says Sonya who also has four children from a previous marriage.

“The great thing is today that, even if nature is against you, medical science can help make it happen.

“Pregnancy is not an illness and neither is having IVF treatment,” she says.

Australia has one of the highest success rates in IVF in the world at around 50% for those aged under 30 to 20% for those over 40. It is highly effective in overcoming many causes of infertility but it is not successful for everyone.

The key factors which affect the chances of conceiving are:

  • age of the mother. After 35 years, there is a decline in fertility and by the age of 45, it is very unusual for a woman to get pregnant using her own eggs
  • weight of either partner

  • lifestyle – for example, smoking, alcohol consumption, and
  • any other medical conditions – some of which are treatable or can be taken into account with IVF treatment.

Sonya has two pieces of advice for women concerned about fertility.

“First and foremost, get the correct advice,” she says. “Just because it hasn’t happened naturally yet, there could be something you can do to maximise your chances naturally.

“Please, please don’t rely on the internet for advice. Go see a qualified medical specialist.”

“And second, if it’s not going to work naturally for you, then see someone who can help. Don’t look upon it as something negative.

“I’ve spent most of my life getting the right qualifications to ensure I can help couples who want to conceive and now I’ve also ‘been there and done that’,” she says. “I can’t help but think ‘Wow, aren’t we lucky to have this technology available?’”

She says baby Samuel is proof.

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