Question:

What are the potential risks and complications of IVF?

Risks and Complications of In Vitro Fertilization

As with any medical treatment or procedure, there are potential risks and complications. This is true for in vitro fertilization, which has its own special risks that can include:

  1. Fertility Drug Side Effects - injectable medications may cause soreness, injection site infection, swelling or localized allergic reaction. Oral medication can contribute to weight gain, nausea, bloating, mood swings, breast tenderness and headache.
  2. Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome - a reaction related to excessive elevation of estrogen levels and the hormone given to ripen the eggs for harvest, resulting in: fluid in the abdominal cavity, blood clots in the large blood vessels, swelling of the ovaries, which have a risk of rupturing or twisting.
  3. Egg Retrieval Risks - since anesthesia, general IV sedation and a needle are used for retrieval, anesthetic reaction, infection at the needle insertion site, bleeding, damage to adjacent internal organs and scarring are risks of the procedure.
  4. Sperm Collection and Preparation Effects - this is a stressful time for the man, who may have erectile difficulties or even changes in sperm count in response to stress.
  5. Embryo Transfer Side Effects - after embryo implantation, the woman may experience vaginal dryness, PMS symptoms such as bloating and tender breasts, depression or mood changes, which can be a result of the hormones administered to prepare the ovaries and uterus for the fertilization process.
  6. Psychological Symptoms - infertility is stressful in itself. Add to this, the stresses related to chemicals, physical evaluations and treatments, and anxiety or depression may result, in addition to sleep abnormalities, tensions within the relationship and stress-related illness.
Recognizing the potential risks and complications involved with IVF will help you better prepare for the process and the potential side effects.

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