Risks Associated with In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex medical treatment used to treat infertility or genetic problems and help with the conception of a child. It is a type of assisted reproduction procedure in which a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are combined outside of the woman’s body in a laboratory dish. Then one or more fertilized eggs (embryos) directly transferred into the woman’s uterus. Pregnancy happens if any of the embryos implant in the uterine lining. In fact, serious health issues from IVF procedures and medicines are rare. However, there are some risks associated with this all medical treatments. The most common risks are discussed below.

Multiple pregnancies: If more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus, there is an increase risk of multiple pregnancies. There is a high risk of early labor and low birth weight if a pregnancy with multiple fetuses occurred, but there is a low risk if pregnancy occurred with a single fetus.

Psychological stress: IVF involves a significant financial, physical and emotional commitment on the part of a couple, specially if in vitro fertilization (IVF) is unsuccessful psychological stress and emotional problems are common. Support from family and friends or counselors may help the couple through the ups and downs of infertility treatment.

Very expensive:  IVF Procedure is expensive and most of the insurance companies do not provide coverage for fertility treatment. The cost for a single IVF cycle can cost from at least $12,000-$18,000.

Low birth weight and premature delivery:  It is suggested that use of IVF significantly increases the risk that a baby will be low birth weight or born early as expected.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: During the IVF procedure, to induce ovulation many injectable fertility drugs such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) are used which can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Signs and symptoms of this treatment typically last a week and include pain, bloating, mild abdominal pain nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In many pregnant women, the symptoms might last several weeks. There is a possibility to develop a more-severe form of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that can increase the chances of shortness of breath or rapid weight gain.

Miscarriage: The rate of miscarriage is about 15 to 25 percent for women who conceive using IVF with fresh embryos is similar to that of women who conceive naturally, but this rate generally increases with maternal age. The risk of miscarriage increases with the use of frozen embryos during IVF procedure.

Egg-retrieval procedure complications: Use of an aspirating needle to collect eggs during IVF could possibly cause infection or damage to the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel or bleeding. If general anesthesia has been used, high risks will increase with the mother.

Birth defects: No matter how the child is conceived, the age of the mother is the main risk factor in the development of birth defects in the baby. More research is required to evaluate whether babies conceived using IVF might involved in increased risk of certain birth defects. Some experts suggest that the use of IVF does not increase the risk of having a baby with birth defects.

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