During in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, fertility drugs are used to control hormone levels, promote the development of viable eggs, and induce ovulation. These are important parts of the process, and allow fertility specialists to achieve success during fertility treatment. San Antonio, TX fertility specialist Dr. Joseph E. Martin goes over the entire need for fertility medication in full detail prior to an IVF procedure.

While the use of fertility drugs can make pregnancy more likely, there are important IVF risks to keep in mind with regard to the use of these medications. The team at the Fertility Center of San Antonio would like to go over these matters in greater detail.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

When using fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries, there is a small chance that a patient will experience OHSS. When this happens, a woman’s ovaries become enlarged, resulting in pain, discomfort, and other more serious health problems.

There are different levels of OHSS that may occur. Most patients develop mild cases of the condition, though more severe cases of OHSS can occur and may even be potentially life-threatening.

Signs and Symptoms of OHSS

Early signs and symptoms of OHSS include:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Minor weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms can last for a week or two, though may last several weeks if you become pregnant.

More serious cases of OHSS could lead to the following symptoms:

  • Dark urine
  • Less frequent urination
  • Excessive thirstiness
  • Dry skin
  • Dry hair
  • Major weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the lower legs

Managing/Treating OHSS If It Occurs

As soon as you notice any of the above symptoms of OHSS, it’s important that you speak with your fertility specialist as soon as possible. Mild cases of OHSS can be treated through regular monitoring of symptoms once they have been caught.

For more serious cases of OHSS, bed rest, fluids, and monitoring are important. If the OHSS is severe, the ideal option for treatment will involve hospitalization, IV hydration, and other types of medical intervention.

Ovarian Stimulation and Cancer Risks

For a time, there were fears that ovarian stimulation would increase a woman’s risk for developing ovarian cancer or breast cancer later in life. It was thought that the change in hormones would negatively impact long-term health and wellness in IVF patients. This was a persistent fear about the unforeseen consequences of using fertility drugs.

New Studies Show No Increased Cancer Risk

Thankfully, new studies have found that IVF patients do note face an increased risk of breast cancer or ovarian cancer.

A study published in the June 2018 issues of the British Journal of Cancer found no association between IVF and breast cancer. At a July 2018 meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, researchers noted that ovarian cancer risk does not seem to be linked to assisted reproduction technology (ART). This study compared ovarian cancer rates in 58,000 women who underwent ART and 549,000 women who did not undergo ART

Contact Fertility Center of San Antonio

To learn more about fertility treatment options and how they can benefit you, be sure to contact the Fertility Center of San Antonio. Our office looks forward to discussing all of these matters with you in public. You can also reach us by phone at (210) 692-0577.