Side-effects of in-vitro fertilisation

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a procedure that can have adverse side-effects on the body during and after treatment. A woman undergoing IVF should be prepared to face these side-effects.

Gunjan Rastogi
PregnancyWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Feb 02, 2012
Side-effects of in-vitro fertilisation

In-vitro fertilisation or IVF is a great way to have a child for those couples who are otherwise unable to conceive. IVF involves a significant level of physical, emotional, financial, and time commitment. It is often a stressful process.

Side-effects of IVF

IVF treatment involves frequent blood tests and almost daily injections or nasal sprays of hormonal drugs. The first stage of the treatment aims to suppress natural menstrual cycle so that artificial ovulation can be done at a later stage. The initial treatment puts you into an artificial and temporary state of menopause. Owing to this, a woman may experience some-side effects while going through the procedure.

  • Injection Site Side-effects- Some IVF drugs are given by injection and may cause side-effects such as bruising at the site, the site of injection becoming sore and possibly allergic reactions, which may include itching and redness.
  • Ovarian Problems- In some cases, fertility drugs may cause ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS). This leads to fluid formation in the abdomen and chest. The symptoms include pain in the pelvic area, vomiting, nausea, rapid weight gain, decreased urination, abdominal pain and breathing problems. In severe cases, it may lead to rupture or twisting of ovaries after they become enlarged. OHSS can cause inflamed veins, blood clots and even a stroke.
  • Multiple Births- Having multiple birth (twins, triplets or more) is one of the greatest health risks associated with fertility treatment. Multiple births pose many risks to the health of the mother and the unborn babies. The babies are more likely to be premature and have below-normal birth weight. Chances of developing cerebral palsy are higher in multiple births than single birth.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy- When an embryo develops in the fallopian tube instead of a woman's womb, it is called ectopic pregnancy. Chances of developing ectopic pregnancy are very high in IVF. Ectopic pregnancy can cause vaginal bleeding, low pregnancy hormone levels, severe nausea and vomiting, fainting, dizziness and miscarriage.
  • Miscarriage- Although, the risk of a miscarriage after an IVF is not very high, women goig through IVF do have a certain level of risk for the same.
  • Side-effects during Retrieval- Retrieval of eggs from the ovaries can cause side-effects such as reactions to anaesthesia, bleeding, infection and damage to structures surrounding the ovaries including the bowel and bladder.

The above side-effects can be overcome by proper care and medication. Generally, most babies conceived through IVF are healthy, but the procedure in itself is very expensive. Although it is performed with much medical care, there is no guarantee of achieving a successful pregnancy each time it is done.


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