The Risks of IVF

Are They More Serious Than Clinics Let On?

By Paul J.O'Brien B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Adv. Dip. OBB, Cert Clin. Med, Cert.CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA, M.ETCMA, M.C.Th.A.

The Risks of IVFThe Risks of IVF

The Risks of IVF are numerous, and sadly poorly explained to new patients. In this article I will give you the facts as the risks of IVF are genuine and serious.

While a large part of my practice is supporting IVF procedures I spend a great deal of time focused on minimising the terrible side effects and long term damage the procedure can induce such as bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or other organs from the process. This is not to mention the emotional impact the process inflicts. In addition there are other concerns, for instance Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This condition affects up to 10%-20% of women who undergo IVF

The symptoms of OHSS can be mild to severe. In mild cases, a woman may suffer from bloating, mild pain or cramping, and weight gain. The severe cases cause significant weight gain (for instance, gaining 10+ pounds in a few days), shortness of breath, and severe pain or swelling in the abdomen and even death.   

And why risk that in this case?

What success does IVF promise? 

It's not a great result as you'll see in the next article...but for now let me briefly summarise the possible dangers of IVF...

The Risks of IVF - A Quick Reference List

The Risks and Side Effects of IVF begin with the medications provided in Steps 1 of the IVF process. You can learn more about the entire IVF Treatment process - here.  

For a detailed explanation and guide to IVF drugs you can find a complete list in my book, "Before IVF", but for now I’m just going to give you the quickfire summary of the common IVF Drug Side Effects:

Menopausal Symptoms including:

  • hot flushes
  • increased sweating
  • vaginal dryness
  • dyspareunia (difficult or painful sexual intercourse)
  • loss of libido 
  • bad headaches

The Risks of IVF also include:

  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • increased menstrual bleeding
  • blurred vision
  • reversible ovarian enlargement
  • cyst formation
  • thick cervical mucus that sperm cannot travel through
  • abdominal uterine bleeding
  • reversible alopecia (hair loss) 
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (see here for more), which can result in death. 
  • increased the risk of ovarian tumors
  • tenderness
  • infection
  • blood blisters 
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • joint pain 
  • fever
  • abdominal and pelvic pain
  • somnolence (a state of strong desire for sleep, or sleeping for unusually long periods)
  • odeama (swelling)
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • mood changes
  • gynecomastia (enlarged and tender breasts)
  • dizziness and sleepiness
  • vaginal irritation 
  • diarrhea and flatulence
  • increased risk of birth defects
  • depression 
  • migraine
  • leg cramps
  • vaginal candidiasis (thrush) 
  • eye dryness
  • anorexia
  • taste disturbances
  • constipation
  • hypotension
  • dyskinesia (abnormality or impairment of voluntary movement)
  • hypersexualtiy
  • pathological gambling (weird, but true) 
  • wheezing and a shortness of breath
  • hemorrhage (ruptured blood vessels and bleeding). 
  • back pain
  • stomach pain 
  • skin rash
  • osteoporosis
  • nosebleeds
  • eye bleeds

And these are just the complications that can be cause by the medications...there's still the risks of IVF physical procedures...

The Side Effects of IVF Physical Procedures

IVF Side Effects

Although you may need to take it easy after the procedure, most women can resume normal activities the following day.  However the risks from the  physical procedures can include the following:

  • Passing a small amount of fluid (may be clear or blood-tinged) after the procedure
  • Mild cramping
  • Mild bloating
  • Constipation
  • Breast tenderness
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • A fever over 100.5 °F (38 °C)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Decreased urinary frequency
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faintness
  • Severe stomach pains and bloating
  • Ten-pound weight gain within three to five days
  • Egg retrieval carries risks of bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or bladder.

Of course the most serious IVF Risk is found in Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) which I cover in detailed in "Before IVF". In the next article I'll examine the reason for these risks, the success rate of IVF...Click here to continue.

What's Your Next Best Step?

If you’re trying for a family or planning on going through IVF, ICSI IUI, or have been through failed rounds, from poor egg growth, fertilization failure, sperm quality issues, miscarriage etc, and want to give this round the best possible shot of success and dramatically improve your fertility and reproductive health, to have a happy healthy baby, then …

  1. Download my Free "9 Reasons You Can't Get Pregnant" Guide to learn more about what complications may be present and what you can do to fix them!
  2. Subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date with the new articles, how to guides, fertility recipes and more.
  3. Get Your Copy of "Before IVF: How it works, why it doesn’t and what you can do to Ensure Your IVF Success!". Over 430 pages, this guide provides answers to every question you could ask about fertility and how to maximise your reproductive health. It will help you beat the numbers in IVF and better still may help you conceive without ever having to go through IVF!
  4. Contact me with your particular questions and concerns and I'll do my best to help. :-)

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