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The psychological impact and emotional cost of the IVF process on couples cannot be underestimated. Director of social work and psychology, Tresillian, Sydney
What are the main differences between IVF families and non-IVF families?
Simply put, stress! Couples experiencing an inability to fall pregnant, medical testing and fertility treatments have been through a particularly negative time in their lives. They are often exhausted and anxious about their ability to have a child. Women undergoing treatment for infertility have a similar level of stress as women dealing with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease and IVF clinicians are now emphasising to parents that stress plays a sizeable role in treatment success.
A recent Melbourne University study by Dr. Karin Hammarberg, detailed in this book, has found that women who conceive through IVF are more likely to doubt their abilities as mothers and to experience difficulties with parenting. IVF mothers are three times more likely to attend early parenting centres for help.
Author and Specialist Counsellor Nichola Bedos, has a Graduate Diploma in Infant Mental Health and eight years of experience working with families, seeing the day - to - day challenges that IVF brings. In her book IVF & Ever After, she explores the emotional aspects of infertility and looks at the process from choosing IVF treatment, through to parenting after IVF. Parents can also learn about their child’s likely feelings regarding their conception when they come to have a child of their own.
“IVF couples should be armed with good information about how to take care of themselves if they are to be successful in achieving a pregnancy,” says Nichola Bedos. She says it is important to consider the needs of IVF families and to remember that stress is fully treatable and this can prevent later problems with breastfeeding, post-natal depression and separation anxiety.
IVF has produced more than three million babies worldwide and continues to offer a wonderful option for many of the one in six couples who experience infertility. This book includes the latest research and looks at issues such as what to do with frozen embryos, how to tell a child about IVF conception and the implications of legislation to make surrogacy easier. It outlines the needs of IVF families and offers strategies that help them through the process and to enjoy their parenting.
Interesting facts and figures
- There are 80 million couples suffering infertility worldwide, and 1 in 6 Australian couples suffers infertility.
- According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, 3 million IVF babies have been born worldwide since the first IVF birth of Louise Brown in 1978.
- 200,000 babies were born in the world after IVF last year, the rate is increasing by 10% every year and in Australia 10,000 IVF babies will be born this year, 4% of all births in this country in 2007.
- More than 50% of all IVF deliveries are by Caesarean.
- 41,000 IVF cycles currently begin in Australia annually. The current overall success rate of IVF in Australia is approaching 25%, a doubling of the success rate over the last twenty years. A twenty-four year old woman has four and a half times the chance of IVF cycle success compared to a 40 year old woman using her own eggs.
- The first baby born after a frozen cycle arrived in 1984, there are now 6 million frozen embryos worldwide waiting for a decision as to their fate.
- 6% of IVF couples use a donor - either egg, sperm or embryo
- IVF couples are 9 times more likely to have twins than non-IVF couples
- Doctors believe PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Testing) will double the current success rate of IVF over the next decade.
- The advent of PGD, the older age of couples trying for a baby and the decreasing fertility rate is set to change the face of human reproduction with 3 out of every 10 babies conceived by IVF by the time our kids become parents.
The author Nichola Bedos is a specialist Parent-Infant Counsellor, in private practice in Sydney, and has worked with 150 families over the last 8 years. She has two sons of her own. Her second son was found to have grave complications during pregnancy, was delivered 6 weeks early and had six operations in his first year. Her struggle to help him achieve normal development led her to study psychology and later gain a Master of Social Science in Counselling. She is an accomplished freelance writer with 10 years’ experience writing for health and parenting magazines in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and is a Contributing Editor for Nature and Health Magazine. She is a regular speaker at parenting forums.