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These women are more likely to have IVF success

Posted April 27

A new survey has found some women have more success with in vitro fertilization than others. (Deseret Photo)

There are two types of women who have the most success with fertility treatments: teachers and the rich.

According to a new study done by startup FertilityIQ, women who have more money are often more successful at in vitro fertilizations — an alternative form of creating an embryo in which a male’s sperm and woman’s egg are joined together outside the body.

Teachers, meanwhile, are more likely to work in environments where co-workers support families, which encourages them to embrace IVF treatment which leads to about 61,000 babies every year.

The study, which surveyed 1,146 participants, said women who work in marketing, public relations and female-heavy jobs in general were more likely to have IVF success than those who worked in male-dominated fields, such as engineering.

“What we found were the women who were teachers were working in environments that were full of women and very supportive of people starting families, which was very different when you talk to female engineers,” FertilityIQ co-founder Deborah Anderson-Bialis told TechCrunch.

In fact, the survey found that teachers who participated in the study said they knew other teachers going through the same experience, giving them a supportive community as they went through the process.

“IVF has a lot of meetings, sometimes 15 meetings in the same month, and approaching your boss for time off is sometimes taboo and most women I know would not feel comfortable having that conversation,” Anderson-Bialis told TechCrunch. “Women need that supportive environment.”

This was also true for egg freezing, according to the study. Wealthier women who decided to freeze their eggs had a higher likelihood of success than their peers. This may be because they could support the process that costs somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000, the survey said.

Previous research has suggested that more money can make you more successful with IVF, too. According to Internet Health Resources, IVF can cost between $12,000 and $15,000 for one basic cycle. Some health insurance plans cover the treatment, but it often depends on the patient.

Persistence, though, can be a major factor in creating success. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that persistence can help a woman's chances. Two-thirds of women who did IVF get pregnant after their sixth attempt, but those chances may increase with each chance taken.

“Instead of saying, ‘If you haven’t been successful after three or four cycles, think about donor eggs or adoption,’ the study says, ‘If you keep going, there’s still a substantial chance,” wrote Dr. Evan R. Myers, a researcher at Duke University Medical Center, in an editorial that accompanied the study.

Again, this process can be expensive, putting a financial toll on potential parents who spend the money on each cycle. Wealthy and poor families alike will feel the financial toll of these treatments.

But families also feel an emotional burden with IVF. Continually trying and failing can stress out potential parents, especially when they’re waiting to hear about their results.

“It’s not just the money being there,” said Taylor Smith, a preschool teacher from Arkansas, to The New York Times. “It’s the emotional toll. Everyone is invested in it. My mother was more upset than I was.”

The first cycle can be the most stressful for couples, even more so than a death of a family member or divorce, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The IVF process creates a high level of anxiety and confusion as couples wait to hear about their potential children.

Couples can effectively deal with these emotional issues, though, in these four ways:

1. Plan ahead and anticipate problems

The ASRM recommends couples gather as much information beforehand and plan ahead so there aren’t any surprises once they begin treatment. It will create less stress over the long term.

2. Make some decisions

Potential parents will to have to make some decisions with these treatments, too, such as if they want to try a second attempt, or whether they want to make any major life decisions while waiting to find out about the process’ results.

3. Take care of the relationship

As Smith mentioned for The Times, couples go through emotional struggles during this process, as they wait to find out if they’re going to be parents. The ASRM suggests partners have lengthy conversations with each other about the process, in which they discuss their hopes and desires for the future to make the process seem less daunting.

If partners become depressed, therapy may be a viable option to help them cope.

4. Find support

Coping may be harder once results come in. The ASRM suggests couples find specific IVF support groups or establish a family network to help them in these times of strife.

“A great deal of healing can come from others who understand,” according to the ASRM.

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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