The Slight Risks of In Vitro Fertilization
- Posted on: Nov 15 2013
There are a number of potential complications arising from having an in vitro fertilization, and they are very similar to the risks associated with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ISCI). Each of these treatment options can potentially increase the risk of a patient contracting ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or of having multiple pregnancies at once.
The first complication that can arise from undergoing preparation for an IVF cycle is the potential for superovulation to occur as a result of the hormone treatments for the female patient in order to produce excess eggs. This superovulation can cause some patients to undergo severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which has a number of effects on the woman.
The effects depend on the amount of stimulation to the ovary. Mild stimulation produces an enlargement of the ovary, with a buildup of fluid and a general discomfort in the abdomen. Moderate causes the previous conditions as well as shortness of breath, vomiting, and cases of nausea.
Often this level of superovulation requires a patient to undergo bed rest. Severe stimulation can produce a life-threatening amount of fluid around the heart, lungs, and within the abdomen. This requires immediate hospital care. Patients generally need not worry however, as hyperstimulation occurs in only .5% to 2% of IVF treatment cycles.
Multiple infant pregnancies with IVF
The second possible complication in using an IVF cycle is the increased chance for a multiple embryo pregnancy. This is due to an older woman requiring multiple embryos implanted into her during an IVF cycle to increase the chance of one taking hold to progress into a fetus. In some cases, however, each of the implanted embryos do take hold, resulting in a multiple infant pregnancy. Some view this as a blessing rather than a complication!
Multiple infant pregnancies have a number of potential detriments such as an increased chance of pre-mature birth, resulting in an increased risk of child illness or disability. Less seen complications of this condition are the potential difference in size between the two fetuses.
The risks associated with an IVF cycle vary depending on the age of the female patient, and it is ideal to discuss with your Colorado fertility doctor the risks versus the successful chance of pregnancy. For patients who are determined to be at-risk for complications, it is possible to use the egg of a donor to increase the chances of having a viable embryo during the IVF cycle.
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