Over the past few decades, IVF has become a widely recognisable term. It has enabled everyone to have a shot of realising their dream of becoming parents. With this process becoming more accessible and the changing lifestyles, the number of couples and individuals using IVF to conceive has increased exponentially. But is this procedure magic? Or does it come with its own risks and side effects? Let us explore.
Like all medical procedures, IVF and other fertility treatments come with their own risks and possible side effects that everyone should be aware of. This is not only important to make an informed decision about opting for IVF but also enables the couple to watch out for warning signs and be prepared for all outcomes.
What is IVF?
The most simplistic explanation of IVF is that an egg is harvested and sperm is collected; the egg is then fertilised with the sperm in a controlled environment; the fertilised egg (embryo) is then implanted into the uterus that results in pregnancy.
In reality, this basic explanation barely scratches the surface of what IVF is. It is a complex procedure that spans over weeks, months, and sometimes years. Many a time, it takes multiple IVF cycles to result in a pregnancy. It is a high financial, physical and emotional investment by the couples or individuals involved.
Female patients are required to take a number of fertility medications to stimulate egg production and ensure their viability. Once the eggs are harvested, there is a chance that they may not be fertilised by the sperm. It is best to be mentally prepared for all outcomes. Remember to take breaks between IVF cycles to recuperate both physically and mentally.
Once fertilised the eggs are then implanted. Based on a number of factors including the female partner’s age and uterine environment, the implantation may or may not be successful. It is important to remember that one failed IVF cycle does not mean that conception is impossible. If your doctor suspects an underlying cause resulting in multiple failed implantations, you might be asked to undergo diagnostic tests for any additional treatments if required.
What are the possible risks of IVF?
There are a number of risks associated with IVF and the procedures involved such as egg retrieval. These include:
- There is a risk of bleeding, infection and damage to the bowel or bladder during egg retrieval
- As doctors generally implant multiple embryos to increase the chances of success, there is an increased risk of multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets etc)
- The risk of miscarriage increases with maternal age
- There is a risk of having an ectopic pregnancy with IVF
- As IVF is an expensive procedure and is generally not covered under health insurance, it carries extremely high financial risks for the couple or individual involved
- IVF can also carry the extremely high psychological and emotional risk for the couple or individual involved
What are the possible side effects of IVF treatments?
IVF is not any one single procedure. It comprises several medical and surgical procedures performed over a period of time. All of these procedures are associated with a wide range of side effects. It is best to stay aware of all these risks and side effects so you can quickly identify if anything is out of the ordinary. Side effects associated with IVF treatments are:
- A small amount of fluid discharge (clear or bloody) after the procedure
- Mild cramps
- Mastalgia or breast tenderness
Some of the possible side effects of fertility medications are:
- Mood swings
- Pain in the abdomen
- Hot flashes
If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the pelvis
- Blood in the urine
IVF treatments can have a severe physical and mental toll on the couples and individuals involved. It is essential to have a strong support system during this time. Make sure you can be completely open with your doctor and are honest about your thoughts. Your IVF doctor and facility will have a huge impact on your chances for success. Make sure they have the experience and technology required for the best results. Facilities like CK Birla Hospital for Fertility and IVF, Cloudnine infertility treatment clinic and Fortis Bloom IVF centre in Gurgaon are some of the best IVF centre in Gurgaon. They provide treatments of international standards and are backed by the testimonials of thousands of happy parents.