When it comes to fertility treatments, IVF or in vitro fertilization is the most effective among them. It has been a ray of hope among infertile couples since its advancement in 1978 in England. For couples under 35, it is highly successful treatment and facilitates having a healthy and cute baby.
In vitro fertilization is an effective assisted reproductive treatment, which helps a couple have conception and produce a healthy child. In the process, doctors use medicines to stimulate a female’s ovaries for more egg production. After that, the experts retrieve eggs and fertilize the same with the extracted sperm in the lab. After fertilization, they transfer the embryo/fertilized egg into a female’s uterus through the vagina with the help of a catheter.
Common side effects of IVF treatment
Every treatment has some mild to severe side effects. And IVF treatment is no exception to it. Here are some most common side effects:
- Multiple births – In vitro treatment triggers your risk of having more than one child if the experts transfer more embryos into your uterus. A pregnancy with several fetuses leads to early delivery and low birth weight in comparison with a pregnancy with a fetus.
- Low birth weight and premature delivery – As per many studies, in vitro fertilization treatment slightly triggers the probability of early delivery or the birth of a baby with a low weight.
- OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) – The use of injectable fertility drugs such as HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to stimulate ovaries for more egg production can cause OHSS. In this state, the ovaries are painful and swollen. Symptoms such as bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea usually last for a week. Due to OHSS, your symptoms can last for many weeks if you conceive through IVF. It can cause you to have breath shortness and rapid weight gain.
- Miscarriage – You might experience a miscarriage after IVF treatment. The miscarriage rate is similar to natural conception, which is 15% to 25%. However, the rate of miscarriage through IVF treatment is higher if the mom-to-be is older. The older you are the higher the miscarriage rate is for you.
- Ectopic pregnancy – About 2%-5% of women who have gone through IVF treatment will have an ectopic pregnancy. It happens when the experts transplant an embryo/fertilized egg outside of the uterus, usually the fallopian tubes by mistake. The fertilized egg doesn’t survive outside the uterus. So, you don’t have any benefit from carrying such a pregnancy.
- Egg-retrieval process complications – The use of an aspirating need for egg collection can cause infection, bleeding, or damage to a blood vessel, bladder, or bowel. These risks are linked to the use of general anesthesia.
- Birth defects – The main factor behind the development of birth defects is maternal age. The way of child conception does not matter a lot. Research work is going on to determine the role of IVF treatment in birth defects.
- Stress – IVF treatment can be a physical, financial, and emotional toll on some of you. Support from your spouse, family members, counselors, and friends can help you lower your stress level. Cancer – Some studies suggest a link between the use of fertility drugs for ovary stimulation and tumor development. It is a very rare case. More studies need to be done to find the link.
How to lower the risk of side effects of IVF treatment
In vitro fertilization is a longer treatment process and can be painful and uncomfortable for some of you. Therefore, it is common for you to feel stress before going through the treatment. You should prepare yourself well to take maximum benefits of IVF treatment. Here are some steps that you can follow:
- Follow your doctor’s advice – It is crucial for you to listen to your doctor carefully. When you are undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment, it becomes more crucial for you. The process requires utmost care. So, all (you, your doctor, and healthcare professionals) need to work together to make it more successful for you. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Educate yourself – Before you decide you have this treatment, you should know each associated aspect. You should have a counseling session or consultation with the doctor who will perform the process. Get in touch with him/her and try to get an answer to each query you have in your mind for IVF treatment. Your knowledge will help you make the process fruitful for you.
- Make a few changes in your lifestyle – The success of your IVF treatment depends on your lifestyle too. A healthy lifestyle will bring more positive results while a bad one can create complications and increase associated risks. So, you should quit smoking and drinking. You should avoid workouts of high intensity. Further, you should take a healthy and balanced diet every time.
IVF is a complex assisted reproductive treatment. It has some risks like birth defects, multiple pregnancies/births, and ectopic pregnancy. However, a proper plan, experienced doctors, and your cooperation with a healthy lifestyle will help you lower the risk of having side effects.