What are the Risks Associated with In-Vitro Fertilization?
IVF is generally considered safe. Like any medical procedure, there are a few side-effects and possible adverse reactions associated with it. The risks of IVF can be broadly classified as those that affect the woman and those that affect the baby.
Side-effects Found in a Woman
The side-effects found in the woman, in turn, are of two kinds: mild and severe. Even with mild and severe side-effects, not all women are affected.
Mild Side-effects of IVF on the Woman
The following are the side-effects commonly experienced by women after starting the IVF cycle. In most cases, the symptoms do not interfere with the normal routine of the woman.
- Spotting during early pregnancy
- Breast tenderness
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
Severe Side-effects of IVF on the Woman
The following are some of the risks involved while undergoing IVF treatment:
- Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (can be mild or severe) (OHSS)
- Faintness, shortness of breath, severe stomach pain (accompanying OHSS)
- Weight-gain, decreased urinary output (accompanying OHSS)
- Heavy bleeding, infection (rare)
- Damage to bowel or bladder (rare)
- Kidney failure or blood clots (extremely rare and associated with severe OHSS)
- Miscarriage (rates similar to normal pregnancy)
- Ectopic pregnancy (2-4% of occurrence)
- Psychological stress (usually when IVF cycle fails)
- Multiple pregnancies and associated risks
- Premature labor
A woman experiencing faintness, severe cramps, heavy bleeding, fever, shortness of breath, and/or vomiting during the IVF cycle should contact their medical care provider without fail.
The Risk to a Baby
The following are the possible risks of IVF to the baby.
- Presence of birth defects (extremely rare)
- Sexual birth defect or infertility in male children (When ICSI is used in certain cases of male infertility)
- Low birth weight (with multiple babies)
- Fetal demise (with multiple babies)
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IGR) (with multiple babies)
However, a good doctor will be able to help you walk through the process with ease and safety.