March 2016

Health Risks Associated With IVF

Like most medical treatments, IVF, a method of assisted reproduction, does not come entirely risk free; and though serious complications are generally rare, there are some common side effects that may occur in women undergoing the treatment.

Side Effects from Fertility Medicines

Gonadotropins are the most commonly used injectable fertility medicines used for IVF treatments as they help stimulate multiple eggs to grow in the ovaries.[1] Some women will experience the following side effects, known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which usually dissipates after a few days without treatment:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 soreness and bruising around the injection site, along with mild skin irritations

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 nausea and vomiting

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 breast tenderness

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 increased vaginal discharge

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 mood swings

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 fatigue[2]

In severe cases, OHSS can result in a buildup of fluids in the abdomen and lungs, which can lead to enlarged ovaries, trouble breathing, and abdominal pain; and in rare cases (less than 1% of women), OHSS can lead to blood clots and kidney failure.[3] However, such cases are infrequent and most women successfully undergo IVF treatment with little to mild side effects.聽

BOOK FREE ONLINE FREE CONSULTATION FOR IVF HERE

Egg Retrieval Procedure Complications

An aspirating needle, inserted through the vagina and into the ovary is used to collect the eggs. This procedure may cause bleeding along with mild to moderate pelvic and abdominal pain.[4] Infection or damage to organs near the ovaries such as the bowels, bladder or blood vessels may also occur.[5] In extremely rare cases, surgery to remove one or both ovaries, fallopian tubs and/or uterus is necessary to stop the spread of infection.[6]

Pregnancy Complications

Women who conceive through IVF are more likely to have a multiple pregnancy, which may result in the following risks:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 pre-term labor or delivery, which results in premature babies. Premature babies or preemies, are more prone to health complications such as delayed lung development, intestinal infections and cerebral palsy

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 pregnancy-related high blood pressure

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 gestational diabetes

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 delivery by cesarean section (C-Section)[7]

To minimize such risks occurring, doctors usually attempt to transfer the minimum number of embryos to ensure a high chance of pregnancy, but with minimal risk of a multiple pregnancy.

Miscarriage

There is generally no discrepancy between women who conceived naturally versus women who conceived through IVF; but in order to minimize risk, doctors will usually arrange for an early pregnancy ultrasound for women who have undergone IVF treatment.[8] The ultrasound is usually scheduled two weeks after a positive pregnancy test.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo develops in a woman's fallopian tube instead of the womb.[9] Studies have shown that between 2-5% of women who conceive through IVF will experience an ectopic pregnancy.[10] Hormone tests and scans are schedule to check for ectopic pregnancies and women should inform their doctor immediately if they experience symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or sharp, stabbing pains.[11]

SOURCES


[1] 'Risks of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)'; in American Society for Reproductive Medicine, revised in 2014, viewed on November 16th, 2015, https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Risks_of_In_Vitro_Fertilization/

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] Mayo Clinic Staff, 'Tests and Procedures - In Vitro Fertilization: Risks'; in Mayo Clinic, published June 27th, 2013, viewed on November 16th, 2015, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/in-vitro-fertilization/basics...

[6] 'Risks of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)'; in American Society for Reproductive Medicine, revised in 2014, viewed on November 16th, 2015, https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Risks_of_In_Vitro_Fertilization/

[7] ibid

[8] 'IVF - The Risks'; in Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, update August 5th, 2014, viewed on November 16th, 2015, http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ivf-side-effects.html

[9] ibid

[10] Mayo Clinic Staff, 'Tests and Procedures - In Vitro Fertilization: Risks'; in Mayo Clinic, published June 27th, 2013, viewed on November 16th, 2015, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/in-vitro-fertilization/basics...

[11] 'IVF - The Risks'; in Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, update August 5th, 2014, viewed on November 16th, 2015, http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ivf-side-effects.html