Many women have successfully given birth after receiving IVF treatment. However, there are a few potential side effects and complications that women should be aware of. Before receiving IVF, your doctors should discuss all these possible issues.
Some side effects may cause mild discomfort. There are also potential risks that may need immediate attention. Here is a closer look at the main side effects that women should understand before undergoing IVF treatments.
What Is In Vitro Fertilization?
Before discussing the possible side effects, you should know how the IVF procedure works. With IVF, your fertility specialist provides medications to help stimulate ovulation. They then retrieve eggs from your uterus and combine them with sperm samples.
The samples may come from your partner or a donor. If you cannot produce healthy eggs, the eggs may also come from a donor.
The sperm and the eggs are combined in a lab. After fertilization occurs, the healthy embryos are then transferred to your uterus.
IVF is typically used to address various fertility issues. Ovarian disorders, damaged fallopian tubes, low sperm counts, and other types of infertility can decrease your chances of conceiving naturally.
Along with fertility issues that decrease the chances of natural conception, there are also issues that may impact the chance of successful IVF treatments. Your reproductive history, age, overall health, lifestyle, and existing fertility issues all play a role in your IVF treatment.
The Basic Stages of IVF Treatment
The IVF process may vary based on your specific fertility issues or health. However, there are several standard stages that most patients go through.
The first stage is the medication stage. Fertility drugs are provided to help stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. Your fertility specialist may also examine your ovaries using a transvaginal ultrasound.
The second stage of IVF involves the retrieval of the eggs. This procedure requires the use of a thin needle and an ultrasound. The needle gets inserted in the vagina and into the uterus.
This procedure may cause moderate discomfort and mild pain. Doctors may use a sedative to help ease of some of these symptoms. However, the procedure typically only takes an hour or less.
The third stage is the collection of the sperm sample. As mentioned, the sperm sample may come from your partner or a donor. Issues such as low sperm count or low sperm motility may decrease your chances of getting pregnant. However, there are also methods of addressing these male fertility issues.
During the fourth stage of the IVF treatment, the sperm and the eggs are combined in the lab. The goal is for the sperm to fertilize the eggs. If fertilization is successful, the embryos should be ready to transfer in about three to five days.
The embryo transfer is the final stage of the IVF treatment. The embryos are inserted into your uterus through the vagina. Like egg retrieval, this process may cause mild discomfort.
Potential Side Effects of IVF Treatments
Besides the mild discomfort that some women experience during egg retrieval or embryo transfer, there are several potential side effects that may occur after the procedure.
After undergoing IVF treatment in Bangkok, women can resume their regular daily activities the next day. However, many doctors advise women to take it easy for a few days to help ease some of the minor symptoms that commonly occur.
The most common side effects include vaginal discharge, cramping, breast tenderness, and constipation. You should pay attention to these side effects. Continue to monitor the severity of your symptoms and contact your doctor if the issues become worse.
Luckily, most women report that these side effects fade away within one or two days. If the symptoms do not worsen, you can maintain your normal daily activities.
While the minor side effects are relatively common, there are also several potentially serious side effects to watch for. If you detect severe pelvic pain, blood in your urine, heavy discharge or bleeding, or a fever, contact your fertility specialist immediately.
Fertility Drugs May Cause Side Effects
The medications that you take prior to the egg retrieval may also produce side effects. While these fertility drugs are needed to help stimulate the ovaries, they may cause mood swings, headaches, abdominal pain, hot flashes, and even abdominal bloating.
These side effects are common and should pass. You should only be concerned if the symptoms continue or worsen. Do not forget to discuss any discomfort that you experience with your fertility doctor.
Symptoms That Require Immediate Attention
While most women do not experience any major side effects from the IVF treatments, there are a few potential risks. These issues may require immediate attention.
You may experience nausea, faintness, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, and weight gain. Many of these issues are common. However, you should still discuss them with your doctor.
The more serious risks include harming the bowel or bladder during the egg retrieval process. Ensuring that you are working with skilled fertility specialists can help decrease the risks of these issues.
Another potential risk is multiple births. The chances of carrying more than one baby are higher when you undergo IVF treatments. The increased chance of having twins or triplets is the result of fertility drugs.
Multiple births can increase the risk of premature birth and lower birth weight. Depending on your existing health, your fertility doctor may want to keep a closer eye on the progress of your pregnancy if multiple fetuses are detected.
IVF treatments do not increase the risk of experiencing a miscarriage. However, there are existing factors that can increase the risk of miscarriage, such as your age.
Ectopic pregnancies are also a concern. The risk is incredibly small. In fact, only about two to five percent of women experience this issue. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo develops inside the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus.
The final side effect of IVF treatments is stress. Many women already experience stress due to their fertility issues. While IVF treatments may provide an effective solution for getting pregnant, the stress of these procedures can take its toll.
Besides paying attention to physical side effects of IVF, you should devise a plan for dealing with the stress, especially if the IVF treatment is not successful.