IVF or the In Vitro Fertilization is a medical procedure which fertilises a female egg with a male sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised eggs are then transferred to the female uterus, assisting them to attach to the uterine wall and develop into a successful embryo.
This has proved to be a gift and a boon to many childless couples, giving them a chance to become a parent.
It takes many attempts and disappointments to get a successful IVF. The journey to get pregnant and carry the baby to full term could be mentally and physically exhausting for both the partners.
Concerns related to IVF
Women who undergo IVF treatment, go through pain, side effects and mental trauma.
Apart from the side effects, pain and mental stress, there are other risks involved with a woman expecting with IVF treatment.
Risks involved during the IVF treatment, pregnancy and at the time of delivery:
Most of the couple who are undergoing IVF, experience a lot of stress and tension. They are likely to get depressed during treatment or after treatment if the results are negative.
A woman undergoing IVF therapy could have:
- Multiple pregnancies: Twins and multiples babies are common in IVF. This is because more than one fertilised eggs are placed into the uterus. More than one baby means much more health risk to mother and children.
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): IVF treatment can over-stimulate the ovaries. Ovaries become large, painful, sometimes water retention in abdomen and lungs are also seen.
- Pelvic infection: Transfer of the embryo or the collection of the eggs may introduce infections into the pelvic region.
During Pregnancy -IVF pregnancy and risk:
A successful IVF is not risk-proof. Most of the women who have had successful IVF conception could have one or more of the following complications during pregnancy.
- Miscarriage: The risk of miscarriage is similar to someone who has conceived naturally. But, if the age of the mother taking IVF is higher, the risk of miscarriage increases. Early and late miscarriage both are a possibility with IVF.
- Ectopic pregnancy: Sometimes in IVF, the embryo develops in the fallopian tube or outside the uterus. This is known as ectopic pregnancy and needs to be terminated. An embryo cannot grow outside the uterus and hence this sort of a pregnancy is not viable.
- Premature babies: Multiple babies are quite common in IVF treatment. More than one baby could mean preterm delivery and low weight birth of babies.
- Foetal Reduction: In extreme cases if the health of the mother or the growing foetus is at risk, the doctors might opt to terminate one of the foetuses.
- Gestational diabetes: Women who are expecting twins are at a high risk of getting gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is not safe for the mother or her growing child.
- Hypertension and preeclampsia: Multiple pregnancies puts an expecting mother at a risk of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
Risk associated during delivery and after birth:
Some of the risk factors associated with delivery and birth are because of the twin pregnancy.
- C-section delivery: Twins are usually advised to be delivered by a c-section. The doctors would want to deliver them before the due date to avoid further complications.
- Haemorrhage: More women experience haemorrhage due to multiple pregnancies. Getting low on iron content and suffering from anaemia is also expected.
- Birth defects: Children born with IVF treatment are at a risk of birth defects. There are theories which support this fact. It has to do more with the age of the parents and genetic abnormalities.
The decision to take up IVF treatment needs a strong will power and lot of support from your spouse, family and doctors.
Consult your doctor about the risk and take preventive measures to reduce the risk of experiencing them.
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- Risks of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)—American society for reproductive medicine—Accessed on 28 April 2016— https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Risks_of_In_Vitro_Fertilization/
- Risks to the mother—One at a time— Accessed on 28 April 2016— http://www.oneatatime.org.uk/37.htm
- Possible risks associated with IVF treatment—coastal IVF—Accessed on 28 April 2016— http://www.coastalivf.com.au/risks-21.htm
- IVF: risks may outweigh benefits, say experts—medical news toady— Accessed on 28 April 2016— http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271785.php
- IVF – the risks—human fertilisations and embryology authority—Accessed on 28 April 2016— http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ivf-side-effects.html