Understanding the Risks of IVF

blond womanIn vitro fertilization (IVF) has helped many hopeful parents realize their dreams, but it carries some risks that patients must first consider. Some IVF risks pose a threat to a mother's health, while others can lead to a more complicated pregnancy overall. For many patients, the risks of the procedure are well worth the potential benefits. Meanwhile, you can minimize your risks by choosing a reputable, credentialed clinic with an excellent track record. After speaking with the fertility specialists at the Fertility Center of San Antonio, you can determine how to proceed. To learn more about the risks of IVF, contact our office in San Antonio, TX, and schedule a consultation.

Ovarian Stimulation Risks

In the first stage of IVF, our specialists administer fertility medication to stimulate egg follicles and cause the ovaries to release eggs. These medications can result in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Studies show that most women who undergo IVF experience mild symptoms of OHSS, such as nausea and headache. About 10% experience lower abdominal pain. In about 1% of cases, OHSS can become much more serious, resulting in symptoms such as blood clots and kidney failure. Our fertility specialists will carefully monitor you while you are taking fertility medications to ensure your safety.

Egg Retrieval Risks

Once our specialists have determined that the time is right, egg retrieval can begin. Risks of egg retrieval include:

  • Pelvic infection
  • Injury to the ovaries, other reproductive organs, or surrounding tissues
  • Pain and soreness

We utilize advanced ultrasound technology to guide this process and minimize the risks associated with egg retrieval.

Embryo Transfer Risks

Once the eggs have been collected, they are joined with your partner's sperm or donor sperm in our laboratory. Once one or more embryos have been fertilized, they are transferred to the uterus. This process is performed using a catheter placed within the uterus. Embryo transfer risks can include:

  • Infection
  • Cramping and discomfort
  • Injury to the uterus or surrounding tissues

As with egg retrieval, we use ultrasound technology to make sure embryo transfer is performed safely. In a successful embryo transfer, one or more embryos will attach to the uterine wall and initiate pregnancy.

IVF Pregnancy Risks

The most common risk associated with IVF is multiple pregnancy. In the hopes that at least one embryo will lead to pregnancy, multiple embryos may be transferred to the uterus. Sometimes, more than one of these embryos attaches to the uterine wall and leads to multiple pregnancies. Multiple pregnancies are manageable, but they do pose specific risks to the mother, including:

  • Hemorrhage and excessive bleeding
  • Premature birth
  • The need for Cesarean section delivery
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes

Learn More about IVF

At the Fertility Center of San Antonio, we are happy to answer any questions that you have about IVF and other fertility treatments. We believe patient education is essential to IVF and all fertility treatments we perform, and we will take all the time needed to help you feel informed and comfortable with this process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin learning more about which fertility treatment is right for you.

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