Complications of IVF


The following are some of the risks and discomforts associated with the various IVF(Invitro fertilisation) procedures.

1. The drugs used in IVF (invitro fertilisation) for ovulation induction may result in over-stimulation of the ovaries, which may cause pain due to the over-growth of one or more ovarian follicles and may cause ascites (fluid in the abdomen), which may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous fluids. Other risks may include tenderness or infection of the injection sites, allergic reactions, nerve injury and failure to respond or excessive response which would result in cancellation of the cycle. Rarely ovaries can become so enlarged that rupture or twisting occurs which could require surgery.

2. Serial blood tests are required to assess the response of the body for IVF (invitro fertilisation) .This may cause mild discomfort and a risk of developing a bruise at the needle site.

3. For IVF (invitro fertilisation), eggs are aspirated under ultrasonagraphic guidance which may cause pain of short duration. Small amounts of blood in the urine may be seen a day following the procedure. Perforation of blood vessels, bladder or bowel, which may require laparoscopy or laparotomy to correct, may occur.

4. Laparoscopy/laparotomy may be associated with infection of the incision site or pelvic organs. It is possible to have perforation of bowel or bladder, internal bleeding, or formation of scar tissue – some of these risks may require immediate major surgery, others may require blood transfusion, antibiotic treatment, or delayed surgery.

5.Numerous possible complications from various drugs and procedures used in anesthesia may occur.

6.There is a possibility that after IVF (invitro fertilisation), the early embryo(s) may implant into a fallopian tube causing an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy that would require laparoscopy or major surgery for treatment. Miscarriage may also occur, which may require dilation and curettage.

7. During IVF (invitro fertilisation), the transfer of multiple eggs into the fallopian tube(s) or embryos into the uterus increases the chance of success but may result in a multiple pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage(s), premature labor and an increased financial and emotional cost. (Recently it was mathematically estimated that the risk of multiple pregnancies in an IVF (invitro fertilisation) cycle for a five(5) embryo transfer was 38% for twins, 19% for triplets, 5% for quadruplets and 0.5% for quintuplets.)

8. Due to the prolonged IVF (invitro fertilisation) treatment, there may be psychological anguish and distress for which psychological/psychiatric therapy may be required.

9.Current success rates in an IVF (invitro fertilisation) cycle are no greater than 35% for term pregnancy. The major risk of this procedure is that the technique may not succeed and that your partner and you might be disappointed. You may expect frustration, anxiety and depression, which may be severe.

10.There may be failure to recover eggs or the wegs recovered may not be normal.

11.Sometimes male partners may not be able to produce semen specimen but this problem is treated by semen freezing as "back up".

12.In an IVF (invitro fertilisation) cycle, fertilization failure may occur in spite of normal eggs or there might be abnormal development of embryos which are then not transferred.

13.Embryos transfer may be difficult or there may be implantation failure.

14.Congenital malformation, genetic abnormalities, mental and other birth defects occur in 3% of spontaneously conceived children, may also occur IVF (invitro fertilisation) babies.