Did you know the risks involved in IVF treatment?
In the previous article, we talked about the procedure, and how it helps a woman conceive. While making a decision to opt for IVF, you must also know about certain risks that may be involved in this treatment.
IVF does not always result in pregnancy. Around 35-45% of IVF treatment cycles result in a birth. In general, younger women have a higher chance of success. Success rates decrease dramatically in women over 40.
IVF can be a physically and emotionally demanding process. The IVF center that you approach usually has a counsellor to help you through the process and helps you deal with the stress.
Specific steps of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle carry risks, including:
1. Multiple births:
IVF increases the risk of multiple births if more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus. (Chances of twins, triplets or more)
2. Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS):
Use of injectable fertility drugs can cause ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome, in which your ovaries become swollen and painful. Signs and symptoms typically last a week and include mild abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If you become pregnant, however, your symptoms might last several weeks. Rarely though, it's possible to develop a more severe form of OHSS causing rapid weight gain and breathlessness. However, with the advent of newer techniques of triggering, and the presence of a good cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos program at your chosen fertility center minimizes this risk. Nowadays, good IVF centers aim at an OHSS free clinic. If you are at a risk for OHSS, you may be advised to freeze all your embryos and not take any transfer in the stimulated cycle. Embryo transfer into your uterus, will be advised in one of the next cycles, which will be medically controlled.
3. Egg-retrieval procedure complications:
Use of an aspirating needle to collect eggs could possibly cause bleeding or, infection. This complication also is very rare when performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon.
4. Ectopic pregnancy:
About 2 to 5 percent of women who opt for IVF, will have an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The fertilized egg can't survive outside the uterus, and there's no way to continue the pregnancy. You will be advised to either monitor your Beta-HCG levels (pregnancy indicator in blood test) or in certain cases, you might be advised a laparoscopy to remove the ectopic pregnancy.
Use of IVF can be financially, physically and emotionally draining. Support from counselors, family and friends can help you and your partner through the ups and downs of infertility treatment.
Nevertheless, trust your infertility specialist as every case is different and he/she knows what will work best for you. This medical technology requires a high level of precision in both judgement and practice, and is a boon for those who are struggling to embrace motherhood!
Also read more about: How does IVF help in enabling pregnancy?