IVF is an assisted reproduction technique where male sperm and a woman’s egg are mixed outside of the body in the laboratory. For IVF pregnancy few fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred into a woman’s uterus. Eggs can be implanted in the lining of the uterine cavity to grow there. Fertility expert Dr Ruchi Bhandari from the best IVF centre in Jaipur says – Risky complications associated with IVF treatments and medication are not common and are lesser in number. However, there are some risks and side effects in some cases and that can be treated well with proper diagnosis, guidance, and care.
What Are The Side Effects Associated with IVF Medicines?
Usually, IVF side effects occurs because of injectable fertility drugs (gonadotropins). These medications help increase the number of follicles that contain eggs to develop within the Ovaries. But sometimes, there are side effects of these medications in some couples.
Injectable Fertility Medicines Could Cause Side Effects Including:-
- You may experience some minor mark and discomfort around the injection site (Choosing different sites for injections could help better).
- Nausea & Vomiting
- The temporary allergic reactions such as reddening or itching near the injection area
- Vaginal discharge & breast tenderness
- Fatigue and mood swings
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
The majority of symptoms of the OHSS (nausea or bloating or Ovarian discomfort) are not severe. They generally disappear with no treatment in a couple of days. In extreme instances, OHSS can produce extra fluid to accumulate within the abdominal (belly) and in the lungs.
OHSS could lead to enlarged Ovaries, dehydration, difficulty breathing, and extreme abdominal discomfort. Rarely ( less than 2 percent of women who undergo egg retrieval as part of IVF), OHSS can lead to blood clots or kidney failure.
Years ago, early reports suggested that ovarian cancer and the use of fertility drugs were related. However, the most recent and well-designed studies have not revealed any obvious links between ovarian cancer and the usage of fertility medicines.
During Egg Retrieval, What Are The Risks?
When you have an egg retrieval procedure, your doctor utilizes vaginal ultrasound to guide the thin needle inserted through your vagina to the ovary and later into each follicle to retrieve eggs.
Risks for this procedure are:
- Mild to moderate abdominal discomfort in the abdomen and pelvis area. Most of the time, the pain will go away within one or two days, if not then doctor will prescribe you painkillers.
- Injuries to organs close to the ovaries, like your bowel, bladder and blood vessels. Rarely bleeding from the blood vessel or bowel injury may require surgical intervention and, sometimes, blood transfusions.
- Pelvic infections (mild or severe). In the case of severe infections, a patient may require hospitalization or treatment with antibiotics.
- It is rare to experience Pelvic infections after an embryo retrieval or egg transfer because doctor gives antibiotics during egg collection.
- In rare cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to eliminate one or both tubes, ovaries, or the uterus to treat a severe infection.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Embryo Transfer?
In rare cases, there is a chance of developing an infection. Most of these risks are associated with hormonal stimulation, causing an increased risk such as blood clots blocking blood vessels.
Is My Pregnancy Going To Be More Complicated If I Get Pregnant Through IVF?
Pregnancies with multiple births (pregnancy that has more than one child) can be more common with IVF. The risks associated with these pregnancies are significant that include:
- Preterm labor or deliveries preterm babies (regardless of whether they were born naturally or through IVF) are more at risk of developing health issues, including lung-related problems and cerebral palsy, intestinal infections or learning disabilities, the delay in language development, and behavioural problems.
- Maternal hemorrhage
- Delivery via cesarean section (C-section)
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Diabetes during pregnancy
The presence of extra embryos in the uterus increases the risk of miscarriage. Your physician must transfer the minimum amount of embryos required to give you the highest likelihood of pregnancy with the least risk of multiple births.
Would IVF Increase the Risk of My Child Having a Birth Defect?
The probability of birth defects for the general population is between 2% and 3% percent and is slightly higher for infertile. The majority of the risk is due to delay in conception and the root causes of infertility. Whether IVF is the sole cause of birth defects remains a matter of debate and investigation.
During IVF treatment, there is a risk of genetic diseases, imprinting syndromes, and rare disorders. Furthermore, ICSI may increase the chance of sex chromosome (X or Y) abnormalities. However, it’s not sure whether these risk factors are related directly to ICSI procedure or issues with the sperm itself. Sperm issues can make a person more likely to have chromosomal anomalies, which can pass to their children. But, these conditions are very uncommon.
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Ectopic Pregnancy and Miscarriage
IVF poses a similar risk of miscarriage as natural conception, with the chances increasing as you get older. The risk of Miscarriage could range 15% percent for women in their 20s and over 50% percent for females in their 40s. There is a minimal chance ( 1 %) of having an embryonic (tubal) pregnancy during IVF. However, this risk is similar to women who have experienced infertility in the past. Women with ectopic pregnancies may receive medication to end the pregnancy or undergo surgery to eradicate it.
If you’re pregnant and feel intense, sharp pain, vaginal spotting or bleeding, dizziness or fainting, lower back pain as well as lower blood pressure (from loss of blood) or haven’t been able to obtain an ultrasound that confirms the pregnancy is occurring in the uterus, consult your doctor right away.
These are all indicators of unintended pregnancy. There is a one percent chance for heterotopic pregnancy following IVF. Heterotopic pregnancy usually requires surgery (to eliminate the ectopic embryo). Most of the time, the pregnancy that is in the womb may continue to grow and develop safely even after removal of the tubal pregnancy.
Couples with interest in having children, but are in a high-risk category of infertility. Because of their age, must undergo an assessment by an expert quickly. So, they can resolve the issue and increase fertility & minimize the negative consequences and risks associated with the IVF procedure.