IVF Guide: What are the side effects and risk associated with Infertility

IVF is an assisted reproduction technique in which a man’s sperm and a woman’s eggs are combined in a laboratory dish. One or more fertilised eggs (embryos) may be transferred into the uterus of a woman, where they may implant and develop. 

IVF Guide: What side effects are associated with IVF medications?

IVF cycles typically utilise injectable fertility medications (gonadotropins). These medications stimulate the development of multiple egg-containing follicles in the ovaries. The ASRM publication Medications for Inducing Ovulation contains a more comprehensive discussion of fertility.

ivf side effects

Possible adverse effects of injectable fertility include the following:

  • Mild pain and bruising at the injection site (using different sites for the injections can help)
  • nausea and, at times, vomiting
  • At the injection site, temporary allergic reactions, such as skin reddening and/or itching, may occur.
  • Breast sensitivity and an increase in vaginal discharge
  • Mood swings and exhaustion
  • Syndrome of ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS)
  • The majority of OHSS symptoms (nausea, bloating, and ovarian discomfort) are mild. They typically disappear on their own within a few days of egg collection. In severe cases, OHSS can cause the accumulation of large quantities of fluid in the abdomen (belly) and lungs. This may result in extremely enlarged ovaries, dehydration, breathing difficulties, and severe abdominal pain. OHSS can very rarely (in less than 1 percent of women undergoing egg retrieval for IVF) cause blood clots and kidney failure. View the ASRM fact sheet Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome for more information about OHSS (OHSS).

Earlier reports from several decades ago suggested a link between ovarian cancer and the use of fertility medicines. However, more recent and well-conducted studies no longer demonstrate clear associations between the use of fertility medications and ovarian cancer.

What risks are associated with egg retrieval?

During egg retrieval, your physician employs vaginal ultrasound to guide the insertion of a long, thin needle through the vagina, into the ovary, and then into each follicle, in order to retrieve eggs. Risks associated with this procedure include:

Mild to moderate abdominal and pelvic pain (during or after). In the majority of cases, the pain subsides within two days and can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers.

Injuries to nearby organs, such as the bladder, intestine, or blood vessels. In extremely rare cases, a bowel or blood vessel injury may necessitate emergency surgery and, on occasion, blood transfusions.

genital infection (mild to severe). Pelvic infections following egg retrieval or embryo transfer are now uncommon due to the widespread administration of antibiotics during egg collection. Severe infections may necessitate hospitalisation and/or intravenous antibiotic treatment.

Rarely, surgery may be required to remove one or both of the ovaries and tubes and/or uterus in order to treat a severe infection. Women with a history of pelvic infections or ovarian endometriosis are more susceptible to IVF-related infections.

What are the potential risks of embryo transfer?

A catheter containing embryos is used to place them gently within the uterus (womb). When the catheter is inserted through the cervix, women may experience mild cramping or spotting (light bleeding) afterwards. In rare instances, an infection may develop, which is typically treatable with antibiotics.

IVF Guide: If I conceive through IVF, will my pregnancy be more difficult (than if I conceived naturally)?

IVF increases the likelihood of having a multiple pregnancy (pregnancy with more than one baby), especially when more than one embryo is transferred. These pregnancies pose numerous dangers, including:

Preterm labour and/or delivery: premature babies (whether conceived naturally or through IVF) are at a greater risk for health complications such as lung development issues, intestinal infections, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, language delay, and behavioural issues.

Maternal bleeding

Cesarean section for childbirth (C-section)

Pregnancy-associated hypertension

Gestational diabetes

The greater the risk, the more embryos that are transferred into the uterus. Your doctor should transfer the smallest number of embryos necessary to provide a high probability of pregnancy with the lowest risk of multiple births. Refer to the ASRM booklet titled Multiple pregnancy and birth: twins, triplets, and highorder multiples for more information about multiple pregnancy. Transferring only one embryo at a time is one way to avoid having multiple children. For additional information, consult the ASRM fact sheet Why Would I Opt for a Single-Embryo Transfer (eSET)?

IVF Guide: Will IVF increase my child’s risk of being born with a birth defect?

In the general population, the risk of birth defects is between 2 and 3 percent, while it is slightly higher among infertile patients. This risk is largely attributable to delayed conception and the underlying cause of infertility. Whether or not IVF alone causes birth defects is still the subject of debate and research. When intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is performed in conjunction with in vitro fertilisation (IVF), there may be an increased risk of birth defects.

In addition, there may be a slightly increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities (X or Y chromosomes) with ICSI. However, it is unknown whether these risks are a result of the ICSI procedure itself or sperm issues. Men with sperm abnormalities are more likely to pass on chromosomal abnormalities to their offspring. However, these conditions are extremely uncommon. Rare genetic syndromes known as imprinting disorders may be slightly exacerbated by in vitro fertilisation. You can google the nearest IVF Center near. For example. If you live in Mumbai, you can google the best IVF center in Mumbai. Many of these Hospitals use a sales crm software to to efficiently manage the appointment process. 

Infertility and ectopic pregnancies

Similar to the rate following natural conception, the risk of miscarriage increases with the mother’s age following IVF. The miscarriage rate may be as low as 15% for women in their 20s and as high as 50% for women in their 40s.

IVF carries a small risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy; however, this risk is comparable to that of women with a history of infertility. If a woman experiences an ectopic pregnancy, she may be given medications to terminate the pregnancy or undergo surgery to remove it. Call your doctor immediately if you are pregnant and experience a sharp, stabbing pain, vaginal spotting or bleeding, dizziness or fainting, lower back pain, or low blood pressure (due to blood loss) and have not had an ultrasound to confirm that the pregnancy is in the uterus. All of these indicate a possible ectopic pregnancy. There is a 1% chance of a heterotopic pregnancy following IVF. A simultaneous ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants and grows in the uterus while another embryo implants in the tube. Most heterotopic pregnancies necessitate surgery (to remove the ectopic pregnancy). After removal of a tubal pregnancy, the uterine pregnancy can continue to develop and grow normally in the majority of cases.

 We hope you found our IVF Guide useful.