What is IVF
IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. It’s an assisted reproductive technology (ART) used to treat infertility and other fertility problems. IVF works by using a combination of medicines to grow many eggs while they are still inside your ovaries.
Once mature, the eggs are removed from your body and placed in a dish with sperm for fertilization. The fertilized egg is called an embryo. Once the embryo grows and develops in the lab for several days, it’s placed into your uterus through the cervix. If all goes well, the embryo will implant into the lining of your uterus and grow into a baby.
- avoid pregnancy at an advanced maternal age
- don’t smoke
- get a flu shot
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
One serious side effect of IVF is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS occurs when the ovaries enlarge and overproduce fluids. This can happen as a result of the hormonal medications used during IVF. OHSS is quite uncommon, occurring in less than 10% of the women who try IVF. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, mild nausea or vomiting, slight vaginal bleeding, and mild pelvic pain. In rare cases, OHSS can increase in severity to include:
- Severe abdominal swelling
- More severe pelvic pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
If you experience any symptoms that concern you during treatment with fertility drugs for IVF, discuss them with your doctor immediately. As a precaution against OHSS, your doctor may use a lower dose of fertility drugs if this has happened to you previously or if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and are at higher risk for OHSS.
When an IVF embryo implants outside the womb, it’s called ectopic pregnancy. It’s a rare but serious condition that can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away.
Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, dizziness or fainting and feeling weak or lightheaded. About one in 50 women who are successful with IVF end up having an ectopic pregnancy. The rate for women who don’t use fertility treatments is between 2 percent and 3 percent. The chance of having an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t change if you have multiple IVF cycles. But having had an ectopic pregnancy is a risk factor for having another one.
Ectopic pregnancies are more common among women using fertility treatments because they may develop multiple embryos at once, putting them at a greater risk of having one implant outside the uterus (the most common place where IVF failure occurs). Women over 35 also have higher rates of ectopic pregnancy because their eggs tend to be genetically abnormal. And older women may also have a higher risk of scar tissue forming inside their uterus after treatment or previous pregnancies — something that can lead to embryo implantation problems and increase the chance for ectopic pregnancy.
If you do develop symptoms after your IVF cycle, your doctor will do some tests to determine whether you might have an ectopic pregnancy (such as ultrasound tests). If there’s a possibility you might have an ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will probably do additional testing such as blood tests to measure hormone levels in your body or laparoscopy — when doctors look inside the abdomen with a thin viewing device inserted through a small incision in the belly button area — to determine where the embryo has implanted itself
Multiple pregnancies and multiple births
- When you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s easy to forget that it can be possible—and even common—to get pregnant with more than one baby at a time. This can happen with IVF if more than one embryo is placed into the uterus during an IVF cycle. Multiple pregnancies have their own risks, as do multiple births.
- Knowing this makes it important to discuss your risks before you undergo an IVF cycle. There are fertility treatments available that can help reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies and births, so talk to your doctor about them before you begin any procedures.
you should be aware of the risks associated with IVF.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex process, and as such it carries some risks. IVF success rates can vary greatly depending on a person’s age, the type of infertility they have, and other factors.
One risk of IVF involves having twins or triplets or other multiple births. People who are having their first baby are usually advised against this because carrying more than one baby puts them at higher risk for early labor and delivery. They may also need to deliver the babies by cesarean section (C-section).
Another possible risk of IVF is ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy may experience pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding during her first trimester and should see her doctor right away to confirm her diagnosis and start treatment.
Women who undergo ovarian stimulation can be at a slightly higher risk for developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This happens when fluid builds up in women’s abdominal cavities during IVF treatments, which can cause severe discomfort. OHSS symptoms include rapid weight gain and bloated belly as well as nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, women need to be hospitalized because their condition is serious enough that they require intravenous fluids or medication to help relieve symptoms while they heal from OHSS