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What Are the Risks of IVF? By on July 15, 2020

A needle and petri dish under a microscopeIVF, or in vitro fertilization, is an assisted reproductive technology that can help couples who have had difficulty conceiving become pregnant. 

When considering IVF at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, it is important that patients understand the possible risks of treatment. Dr. Marc Kalan and Dr. Nurit Winkler explain IVF risks to patients from Encino, CABakersfield, CA, and Los Angeles, CA during a personal consultation. 

Understanding the Risks of IVF

IVF is a fertility treatment in which eggs are removed from a woman's body and combined with sperm in a laboratory setting. Resulting embryos are then transferred back into the woman's body or stored for later use. 

The IVF process requires the use of fertility medications as well as minor medical procedures to physically retrieve eggs from the woman and transfer embryos into her uterus. As a result, there are some risks associated with the IVF treatment process. 

The following are some possible risks to be aware of before undergoing IVF. 

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries become painful and swollen. This happens in some women as a result of taking fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries and induce ovulation. 

In addition to ovarian pain, women with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome may also experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, mild abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In rare cases, women may experience shortness of breath and rapid weight gain.

Fortunately, these symptoms are usually short-lived, lasting about a week, but may last a few weeks in those who become pregnant. 

Multiple Births

There may be an increased risk of multiples with IVF. This is generally only a concern if more than one embryo is transferred into the uterus at the same time. 

It's also important to note that if multiples are carried, the risk of early labor and low birth weight are greater than if only one baby is carried. 

Complications from Egg Retrieval Procedure

Although the majority of egg retrieval procedures occur without any issues, there is a slight risk of complications arising. 

Eggs are removed from the body using something called an aspirating needle. This needle may penetrate the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel. As a result, damage to the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel may occur, as well as bleeding or infection. 

Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a risk of pregnancy. Women who undergo IVF are not necessarily more likely to suffer a miscarriage than those who conceive naturally. However, the risk of miscarriage increases with maternal age so women who undergo IVF at advanced maternal age may be at greater risk of miscarriage.  

Emotional Toll 

The emotional stakes are high for many people who turn to IVF to have children. Knowing that IVF is not always successful can make some feel emotionally drained or stressed throughout treatment. 

Seeking support from family, friends, counselors, or others who have been through the IVF process can help people emotionally struggling through IVF get the help they need. 

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about IVF or other fertility treatments, contact us online or call (818) 946-8051 to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. 

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