FAQ's

There are always lots of questions about IVF, IVF-lings and other assisted reproductive technologies! We’ve tried to cover a few of the more commonly asked questions and shed a bit of light on things.

But if you still have a burning question of your own – go ahead and ask our panel of experts by using our Ask a Question form here.

[+] What is an 'IVF-ling'?

'IVF-ling' is term used for a child who has been born through the use of an assisted reproductive techonology called In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF. You can find out more about IVF and IVF-lings on the following pages of our website:

[+] What is IVF?

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilisation and is a procedure that helps people who face challenges in conceiving a baby, to have a family. You can find out more about IVF, the science and history in the following sections

[+] Are there any side-effects of being an IVF-ling?

The chance of an IVF-ling being born with a congenital abnormality (birth defect) is around 4 per 100 births rather than 3 per 100 births in naturally conceived children.

Children born from ICSI have a slightly higher chance of having an abnormal number of X or Y chromosomes, 0.6% instead of 0.2% in the general population. They also have a slightly higher chance of having abnormalities in the number of other chromosomes, 0.4% instead of 0.07%. These abnormalities may have little or no effect, or may be associated with infertility and/or some degree of mental retardation.

The vast majority of IVF-lings are obviously born without any of these abnormalities and are really no different to their naturally conceived peers. Interestingly, in 2007, a study by Harriet Miles at the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute looking at IVF children born at term after a singleton pregnancy showed that these children are taller and have a more favourable lipid profile compared to their naturally conceived peers, so it may be that IVF-lings are actually 'healthier' than their peers. 

For more information visit University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute or click here to read the article published in North and South magazine (June 2009).

[+] Who was the first child to be born from IVF?

Internationally, Louise Brown was the first child born from IVF.  Miss Brown was born in England on 25 July 1978.  On June 23 1980, Australian Candice Reed was the 1st Australian child to be born from IVF and the 3rd in the world.  The first New Zealander to be born from IVF was Amelia Bell who arrived on the 24 June 1984. 

[+] Have any IVF-lings had their own children yet?

Louise Brown – the first IVF baby to be born in Britain and Elizabeth Comeau – the first IVF baby to be born in America have both given birth to their own children naturally! Check out the History of IVF page for more IVF-ling births on the timeline. 

[+] If my mother needed fertility treatment to fall pregnant, will I need it too?

Couples undergo fertility treatment for a variety of reasons which may include female problems, male problems, a combination of both or for unexplained infertility where the cause of the fertility problem is unknown.

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that unexplained infertility is inherited from your parents.

Some female conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome that may contribute to fertility problems do have a tendency to run in families, however this does not mean that these women will require fertility treatment.

It is certainly possible that some causes of low sperm counts are inherited so some boys born as a result of IVF and ICSI may have similar fertility problems to their fathers. 

You can find out more about IVF and ICSI on the following pages of our website here:

[+] What are the main causes of infertility?

According to the Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) from 2007 - in Australia and New Zealand the four main reasons of infertility are:

1. Female reasons (including PCOS, endometriosis, age, tubal disease and premature ovarian failure)
2. Male reasons
3. Unexplained. (This reason has doubled in the last 20 years)
4. A combination of female and male. 
 

[+] Is infertility a problem that is becoming more and more common in today’s society?

At the moment, we can’t prove that infertility is becoming more common. We can only say that because of certain trends in our society more and more couples need fertility treatment. Things that have caused more couples to need treatment include obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, and women leaving it until they are older to try and start to have a baby.
 
Read an article on this topic here. 

[+] What should we do to make sure we look after our fertility?

We can look after our fertility by doing simple things to look after our general health. This includes keeping a normal and healthy body weight – not being too heavy or too light, ideally we want to have a BMI between 20 and 25. Exercising regularly – not too often or not too rarely. Eating a healthy diet and not drinking too much alcohol or smoking cigarettes. Practising safe sex is also important as some STIs can cause infertility.    For more information on Lifestyle and Fertility, take a look at our Fertility Associates’ website.

[+] What resources are available to help explain IVF to a young child?

There are books around which help to explain IVF to children.

Probably the most suitable for a younger child is an Australian book called “The Baby Doctor – Explaining IVF to Your Child” by Leah Bryan. The email of the publishers is email@nuhousepress.com and their website is www.nuhousepress.com.

Another good place to explore is the book section of www.amazon.com, although it is good to be aware that these books are often written from an American perspective and the experience is somewhat different.
 
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