Does IVF Increase the Risk Associated With Pregnancy?


If you are someone new to the world of fertility treatment, then it is only natural to have questions about the risks of the procedure. Couples struggling to conceive are highly likely to make the most of new-age fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but not before learning about all the safety risks involved. In an IVF, an egg and sperm are fertilized in the laboratory before the embryo is placed and allowed to develop inside the woman’s uterus. While serious complications are rare, as with any other medical procedure, there is some degree of risk to this fertility treatment

Will Conceiving Through IVF Complicate The Pregnancy?

In the case of an IVF, it is not uncommon to experience multiple pregnancies as doctors often transfer more than one embryo to increase the likelihood of success. There are certain risks associated with these pregnancies, such as:

  • Premature deliveries
  • Maternal haemorrhage
  • Caesarean or C-section delivery
  • High blood pressure associated with the pregnancy
  • Gestational diabetes

When more embryos are transferred into the uterus, it increases the probability of an IVF high-risk pregnancy. The best doctors usually advise transferring an optimum number of embryos to increase the success rate while keeping the risk of multiple pregnancies down to a minimum. Another option is to transfer no more than an embryo at one time to mitigate multiple pregnancy risks.

Will IVF Increase The Risk Of Birth Defects in The Child?

The probability of a birth defect is only around 2%-3% for the general population but slightly higher among those with infertility. These are mainly due to underlying factors that cause infertility as well as because couples today often choose to conceive late. There is no clear scientific evidence to suggest that birth defects are an outcome of IVF treatments alone. However, the risk of birth defects may be increased who has undergone an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) along with the regular IVF procedure however not statistically significant.

Sex chromosome abnormalities may also be slightly higher in those under an ICSI treatment program, though it is yet to be established if these risks are linked to the procedure itself or due to existing issues in the sperm—transmittable chromosomal abnormalities, though rare conditions are more likely to come from men with sperm defects. IVF treatment may lead to a slight increase in rare genetic syndromes known as imprinting disorders.

Some of the other risks typically associated with an IVF birth are as follows.

Premature birth: This can happen even when you conceive naturally and is more due to socioeconomic status, general health conditions, and age. All things considered, premature births are more likely in babies conceived through an IVF, though the exact reasons are yet to be established. Some studies have found that factors such as increased medical management, old age of parents, infertility issues, hormonal changes, and multiple embryo transfers are usually associated with a higher risk for IVF babies.

 Low weight at birth: Though IVF babies are as healthy as their natural counterparts, they are at greater risk of being born with a low weight. While there is no direct correlation to fertility treatment, several factors, such as underlying infertility issues in the parents and multiple pregnancies, increase their risks.

Neonatal death: This is a tragic event associated with all forms of pregnancies, and there is no clear evidence to suggest that neonatal deaths are higher in babies conceived through IVF treatment.

What Are The Risks During Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer?

For the IVF egg retrieval process, doctors insert a long, thin needle into the ovary and retrieve eggs from each follicle, all the while guided by vaginal ultrasound. The possible risks involved are:

  • There is some abdominal and pelvic discomfort that usually lasts for a couple of days and is easily manageable with over-the-counter medication.
  • Injury to organs around the ovaries, such as blood vessels, bowel, or bladder, with rare instances of these requiring blood transfusions and emergency surgeries to heal.
  • Pelvic infections have become more uncommon nowadays as doctors administer antibiotics before egg retrieval. For severe infections, intravenous antibiotic treatment or even hospitalization may be required.
  • In extreme but rare cases, the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes may require surgical removal to prevent the spread of infection.

The embryo is transferred into the womb with the help of a catheter and may lead to mild cramps while inserting the catheter through the cervix. You may also experience some spotting or bleeding from the vagina that settles down by itself . Infections are rare and can be treated with antibiotics.

What are the Side Effects of IVF Medication for the Mother?

Injectable fertility medications or gonadotropins are usually administered for inducing an IVF pregnancy. The typical side effects associated with these injectable medicines are:

  • Mild soreness and bruising around the injection site. This can be reduced by administering the injection over multiple sites.
  • Occasional vomiting and nausea.
  • Itching or skin reddening at the injection site and other allergic reactions.
  • Increased vaginal discharge and tenderness in the breast.
  • Persistent fatigue and mood swings.
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) with mild symptoms such as ovarian discomfort, nausea, and bloating.

Some prior studies conducted a few decades ago linked rising cases of ovarian cancer to fertility treatments and increasing usage of fertility medications. However, recent, more comprehensive studies have clarified that no such correlation exists.

Consulting an Experienced IVF Specialist in Bangalore is the First Step to a Successful IVF

While an effective and safe means by which couples struggling to conceive can realize their dreams of starting a family, you must be aware of the risks to both the baby and the mother.

If you are not sure if a fertility treatment is the right choice for you, an IVF specialist in Bangalore, such as Samrudh Fertility & Urology Centre, can show you the way.

To sum it up, IVF can involve some complications and risks. However, its chances of success increase significantly when guided and performed by trusted and reputed fertility experts.


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