The Risks And Complications Associated With In Vitro Fertilization

Like any medical procedure, treating infertility with in vitro fertilization technology presents its share of risks. Learn more about the complications associated with in vitro fertilization before deciding if it’s for you.

Possible Complications of Invasive Surgical Procedures
IVF involves a surgical procedure known as follicular aspiration to remove the eggs from the ovaries. This is a minor procedure, but like all surgeries, it presents inherent risks. Bleeding and infection is a risk common to all surgical procedures that can result in sepsis and shock, end in extreme cases, death.

The procedure uses general anesthesia, which may cause complications such as temporary mental confusion, heart attack, lung infections, stroke and, in severe cases, death.

Another potential complication of IVF surgery includes damage to the body parts surrounding the ovaries, such as the bladder or bowels.

The Possibility of Superovulation
IVF fertility treatments carry a higher risk of superovulation than natural pregnancies. This leads to the potential for multiple births, such as twins or triplets, because more than one embryo is placed within the womb.

Multiple births carry a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight, however both of these conditions are common with IVF babies, even in single births.

Delivery and Birth Complications Related to IVF
Fertility drugs administered in IVF procedures have been linked to the occurrence of a detached placenta. This decreases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that can reach the fetus, and is one of the leading causes of fetal death in the third trimester.

Multiple births may increase the death rate caused in pregnancy, often as a result of embolism (blood clot), hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), infection, and high blood pressure.

Other Potential Dangers
Women who elect IVF procedures are more likely to suffer from gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that is only found in pregnant women. It’s a temporary condition that clears up once the baby is born, but it could indicate a predisposition for diabetes later in life.

Women who are undergoing fertility treatments related to IVF may also experience high blood pressure during the course of treatment. Other side effects of fertility drugs used in IVF include abdominal pain, anxiety, bloating, depression, headache, fatigue and mood swings.

Of course, the biggest risk involved in IVF procedures is that they won’t work. Even in the most ideal circumstances, IVF has slightly more than a one-in-three success rate. At $15,000 per attempt, this could be a costly complication, and a devastating one for many couples.

If you’d prefer to research other options, consider other types of assisted reproductive technology treatments.