Like every medical procedure IVF has its own risks and complications and side effects. Some of them or more or less dangerous. However both medicine and procedure complications are very rare.
Most common risks and complications of IVF treatments
Medication related complications
The most dangerous complication connected to IVF medication is the Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Most of the symptoms of OHSS like nausea, ovarian discomfort, bloating are rather mild but in some cases can cause serious complications. Severe cases of OHSS could lead to large amounts of fluid building up in the abdomen and lungs. In very rare cases OHSS can lead to kidney failure and blood clots.
Other possible side effects of using IVF medications is nausea and sometimes vomiting, some allergic reactions, sore breasts, fatigue and mood swings.
In the past there were some suggestions about the link between the medication and ovarian cancer but latest studies show that there is no evidence showing this is true.
If more embryos are implanted in your uterus to rise the chances of pregnancy it might be that more than one embryo will implant and develop and a multiple birth could occur. In such cases there is a higher risk of an earlier labor and the birth weight could be lower. That is why more and more clinics decide only for a single embryo transfer. However there are couples which would be happy with twins.
Miscarriage and Ectopic Pregnancy
Like in a natural pregnancy there is a chance of miscarriage. The rate of miscarriage is similar to this in a natural pregnancy. For women in their 20’s the chance for miscarriage is about 12-15%. Both in natural and IVF pregnancy those chances rise with the age of the mother. Women at the age of 40 and more can have a chance of miscarriage as high as 50% or even more.
Ectopic Pregnancy is when the embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead in the uterus. It is a very rare occurrence in the IVF treatments. However it could be a very serious and dangerous medical emergency. It must be dealt with very quickly to avoid serious health issues or sometimes even death. If during pregnancy you feel sharp pains, vaginal bleeding, low back pains, dizziness or low blood pressure you need to contact your doctor right away.
Egg retrieval complications
During and or after egg retrieval you can mostly feel some mild discomfort. However in some very rare cases excessive bleeding might occur from the ovaries or from the organs close to the ovaries which have been injured, like bladder, blood vessels or the bowel. If the bleeding is massive surgery or blood transfusion might be necessary. Also you should be aware of the risk of pelvic infections, especially if you already had such infections in the past but this is again also very rare.
Chances for birth defects in IVF children or only slightly higher than in children conceived naturally. Naturally it’s about 2 to 3% and through IVF it’s about 2,6 to 3,9%.
As you can see the chances are almost the same.
To sum up, IVF treatments are safe and the risks that may occur should not stop you from trying to have a child. If you want to read about risks and complications concerning IVF with egg donation click here.