Saturday, 14 May 2011

Is IVF Dangerous? The Risks of In Vetro Fertilization

One of the most common misconceptions of IVF is that it is an easy procedure - the fact is, it actually takes months of planning. The process is invasive, intensive and is fraught with dangers however when the alternative is infertility...well there's just no question for many couples.

Before we start, I want you to understand the purpose of this article and why it is such a negative one.

Much like the bride who plans every detail of her wedding day and gives no thought to what will happen the next day (and for the rest of her life),many couples go into IVF treatments blinded with hope.

So my purpose is this: Please be warned - things don't always go as planned. Sometimes the cycle needs to be stopped before completion. Sometimes complications occur. I do not wish to scare you away from this treatment - I just want you to understand that there are many stages that can make or break a successful IVF cycle and pregnancy.

Ok? Great, let's do this....

Hyperstimulation syndrome - results in swollen and quite painful ovaries and sometimes be very severe. Some form of hyperstimulation occurs in around 30% of women. Caused when the ovaries swell and fluids build up in abdominal cavities. Symptoms may include heartburn, loss of appetite, gas and nausea. In severe cases patients have sudden and excessive abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and will require hospitalization. 

Any surgery (albiet small) carries a chance of complications. During egg retrieval there is a small but increased chance of bleeding, infection. There is also a danger of damage to surrounding structures like bowel and bladder (transvaginal ultrasound aspiration).
More seriously, other problems can include  an allergic reaction to the drugs used, difficulty breathing, chest infection, nerve damage (laproscopy). 

If more multiple embryo is transferred there’s always a risk of multiple pregnancy. You may be inclined to think
"Great...instant family!"
But multiple pregnancies are high risk pregnancies and come with a whole new host of complications for both mother and babies. 
Ectopic pregnancy may also occur in this stage of the In Vetro Fertilization. Ectopic pregnancies  occur when a fertilizaed egg develops outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes and will require immediate termination of the fetus.
Finally, since we are going through the negatives of IVF, it is also worth mentioning the cost. The average cycle can cost $10 000 and it can quickly add up. Few couples are successful the first time.
Many factors will effect you own chances (including your age and whether or not you have had successful pregnancies in the past) but on average the number of cycles needed is three.  

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