What Are the Risks of IVF?
For couples who have had difficulty conceiving, it is good to know that there are infertility treatments available that can significantly increase the chances of pregnancy. IVF, in particular, is a multi-step procedure that aids in the conception process and has been highly successful for many patients. However, before undergoing treatment, Dr. Janelle Dorsett ensures that all of her patients are well-educated on the IVF treatment process, including the potential risks that could arise throughout treatment. When our Lubbock patients understand the IVF risks, they can make an informed decision regarding the potential benefits of treatment, and if they outweigh the potential complications.
- Surgical complications: In general, IVF is a low risk procedure. However, this is a multi-step treatment, each of which is considered a minor surgical procedure. As such, patients are at risk for common complications of surgery, including adverse reactions to anesthesia and infection. Fortunately, the surgeries involved with IVF treatment are minor and often require no more than a local anesthesia or mild sedative so the risk of surgical complication is extremely low.
- Hyperstimulation: Patients who do experience complications during IVF treatment are more likely to do so as a result of the hormone treatment that is involved in IVF. The patients will take a series of fertility drugs in order to stimulate the ovaries and promote the production of healthy, mature eggs. In rare cases, the patient may experience hyperstimulation, also known as Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome. Common side effects of hyperstimulation include bloating, mild abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. In very rare cases (less than 1 percent), patients will experience severe ovarian hyperstimulation, which may result in severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid weight gain, and shortness of breath.
- Multiple births: During the IVF treatment process, healthy eggs are fertilized with sperm outside of the patient’s body and then transferred back into the uterus once fertilization has been confirmed. While the number of embryos to be transferred will be discussed in advance, in most cases we will implant multiple embryos in order to increase the chances of pregnancy. As a result, IVF treatment carries an increased risk of a multiples pregnancy. While some patients may not consider this a risk, it is something to consider before beginning treatment and before choosing the number of embryos to be transferred during treatment. While medical advances have resulted in a number of healthy multiples births, the risks of a multiples pregnancy remain higher than a single pregnancy.
Benefits of IVF
Overall, the risks of IVF treatment are considered very low. There is no guarantee of success of IVF treatment, but it does help a great number of patients achieve their ultimate goal of pregnancy and parenthood, with over 17,000 IVF births in the United States each year. Most of our patients consider this one possible benefit far greater than any of the minor risks associated with treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
IVF is not for everyone, but for those who are ideal candidates for in vitro fertilization, it can be a life altering treatment. If you would like to learn more about IVF or are interested in learning if you are a good candidate for IVF treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Janelle Dorsett at your earliest convenience. We look forward to meeting you!