In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been a miraculous treatment for the countless couples previously unable to conceive since its first success in 1978, though it’s fair to say plenty of fears and unfortunate myths still surround the practice. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Is IVF Dangerous?

Some have worried about the potential health risks that might occur among children artificially conceived, from increased cancer rates to autism.

Indeed, earlier this March, a study of Norwegian children found that those conceived through IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) had an elevated risk of developing leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma in their childhood. Upon closer inspection, though, the actual risk of an ART-born child developing any cancer at all was .002 percent (out of 25,000 children born during the study period). Elsewhere, other research has shown that ART children have a slightly higher but almost negligible risk of birth defects, certain cancers, and autism, but not necessarily of any mental health problems.

This increased risk is largely due to the fact that ART pregnancies more often end up in multiple births, which are in turn associated with having children born prematurely or with low birth weight. But again, the vast majority of children end up every bit as healthy as anyone else.

A Heavy Cost

On the other hand, a perfectly natural fear to have when considering ART is that it won’t work. According to the Center for Human Reproduction, IVF’s success rates range from 50 to 10 percent depending on age (the younger the woman, the better). Other methods, like intrauterine insemination, can be as low as 6 percent, though some centers have been able to raise the chances up to 20 percent. Each IVF attempt comes at a high sticker price too, at around $8,158 a pop, according to the National Infertility Association, or RESOLVE.

Altogether, while IVF and its cousins have been a great boon to otherwise struggling couples who want to bring new life into the world, they’re still not perfect or foolproof.