Possible IVF side-effects?

IVF-associated possible side effect awareness always helps the patient in decision-making for treatment. Following are some possible side-effects that may occur because of IVF.

IVF side effects

Medication side effects

Different medications require administering during the IVF treatment. Most of these medications have mild to severe side effects that include

  • Irritability or feeling depressedHot flushes
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Patients who have experienced persistent or worrying side effects during treatment should contact a fertility clinic.

Multiple births

During IVF treatment procedure, often more than one embryo is transferred to the mother’s womb to increase the possibility of a positive outcome of the treatment. But this may cause twins or triplets birth. Carrying more than one baby at a time significantly increases the risk of complications for both mothers and babies. Multiple births commonly causing the following side effects:

  • Miscarriage
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia and pregnancy-related hypertension
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Requirement of cesarean section

The risk of premature birth or low birth weight is a common side-effect of multiple births. These side effects may create life-threatening complications like neonatal respiratory distress syndrome or long-term disabilities like cerebral palsy.

However, reproductive treatment advancement offers a single embryo transfer option with high success in the result. Recently many official guidelines allow only a single or maximum of two embryo transfers, specifically for women who cross 40 years of age. Usually, multiple embryo transfer is recommended in younger women when no single top-quality embryo is formed.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a rare but complicated problem of IVF. Women who have higher reactivity with the fertility medication require taking to increase egg production. Additional egg production in the ovaries due to the administered medication causes the painful condition. OHSS usually occurs in the week after egg collection. The symptoms of OHHS are as follows:

  • Blotting and stomach ache
  • Malaise
  • Breathing shortness
  • Unconsciousness

These symptoms may become serious in case of a severe reaction. The patient should immediately contact after arriving at any of the symptoms related to OHHS. It may require stopping the current cycle and restarting the cycle with a lower dose of fertility treatment medications.

Ectopic pregnancy

Women who have undergone the IVF treatment cycle may have a higher risk to develop ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead of implantation of the embryo occur in the womb. Consequently, this causes abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, or dark discharge from the vagina. Therefore, confirmation of pregnancy after IVF treatment requires a diagnostic scan after 6 weeks of pregnancy to ensure that the normal growth of the embryo and no complication in pregnancy at the initial stage. Patients need to consult with a doctor in case of occurring bleeding or stomach pain after IVF treatment with a positive pregnancy test.

Risks for older women

Older women have a comparatively low rate of success after IVF treatment. Moreover, they also have a higher risk of miscarriage, birth defects because the advanced age of women leads to genetic issues.

It is always suggested to discuss with your doctor every possible side effect related to IVF considering individual patient’s factor.



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