A research-driven approach to fertility treatment for Santa Monica couples.

In Vitro Fertilization Risks, Side Effects & Complications

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment that has been used successfully since the late 1970s. This procedure has been fully evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Your specific risk factors may vary based on your medical history. Our medical staff will explain the risks associated with IVF and obtain your informed consent prior to treatment.

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Treatment Failure

IVF does not always work the first time and may not work at all for some patients. There are many variables that can affect the success of treatment including the quality of a woman’s eggs and abnormalities of the uterus. Failure to conceive through repeated IVF attempts can be a difficult emotional experience for patients. Other fertility options may be available.

Reactions to Fertility Drugs

The hormones used in IVF may cause side effects in some patients. Most side effects are minor such as soreness or bruising from an injection. Mood swings, hot flashes, and other symptoms of hormonal changes may also occur.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Some patients may experience a complication called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This can cause painful swelling in the ovaries and may lead to the development of ovarian cysts. In rare cases, it can cause the ovary to twist and cut off its own blood supply, or lead to blood clots. In the most severe cases, medical treatment and hospitalization is required to alleviate the symptoms of OHSS.

Egg Collection

Egg collection through the vaginal wall is generally an outpatient procedure. However, it is surgery and can cause side effects. These may include discomfort or bleeding. Infection or injuries to surrounding organs are rare complications.

Ectopic Pregnancy

There is some evidence that one of the risks associated with In Vitro Fertilization is a higher than average rate of ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg becomes trapped in the fallopian tube. If this occurs, the developing embryo must be removed to prevent life threatening medical complications.

Multiple Pregnancy

With IVF, more than one embryo is often transferred into the patient’s uterus to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. This means twins or even triplets may result. Multiple pregnancies generally carry a higher risk for the mother and for developing fetuses including serious complications such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and birth defects.

Your specific risk factors may vary based on your medical history. Dr. Jain will fully explain any risks associated with IVF and obtain your informed consent prior to treatment.

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Please contact Santa Monica Fertility to receive more information about your fertility options.

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