Specific steps of an Invitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle carry risks which include:
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – Use of injectable fertility drugs, such as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), to induce ovulation can cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, in which a woman’s ovaries become swollen and painful.
Signs and symptoms typically last a week and include mild abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If a woman becomes pregnant however, the symptoms might last several weeks. In rare situations, it is possible to develop a more-severe form of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome that can also cause rapid weight gain and shortness of breath.
Egg-Retrieval Procedure Complications
Use of an aspirating needle to collect eggs could possibly cause bleeding, infection or damage to the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel. Risks are also associated with general anesthesia, if used.
About 2 to 5 percent of women who use IVF will have an ectopic pregnancy when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The fertilized egg cannot survive outside the uterus, and there is no way the pregnancy can progress.
The rate of miscarriages for women who conceive using IVF with fresh embryos is similar to that of women who conceive naturally — about 15 to 25 percent — but the rate increases with maternal age. Use of frozen embryos during IVF may slightly increase the risk of a miscarriage.
IVF increases the risk of multiple births if more than one embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus. A pregnancy with multiple fetuses carries a higher risk of early labor and low birth weight than the pregnancy with a single fetus does.
Premature Delivery and Low Birth Weight
Research suggests that the use of IVF slightly increases the risk of a baby being born early or with a low birth weight.
The age of the mother is the primary risk factor in the development of birth defects irrespective of how the child is conceived. More research is needed to determine whether babies conceived using IVF might be at increased risk of certain birth defects. Some experts believe that the use of IVF does not increase the risk of having a baby with birth defects.
Although some early studies suggest there may be a link between certain medications used to stimulate egg growth and the development of a specific type of ovarian tumor, more recent studies do not support these findings.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) involves a significant level of physical, financial, and emotional commitment on the part of a couple. Psychological stress and emotional problems are common, especially if Invitro Fertilization (IVF) is unsuccessful.