What are the Risks Associated with In-Vitro Fertilization?

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.

  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Spotting during early pregnancy
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea

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.