The Complications of IVF
IVF has been of tremendous help to couples with fertility issues for the past five decades. Though success rates are impressive enough to allure more and more couples into it, there are a bunch of complications associated with the procedure. What are the potential obstacles that you might face in your IVF journey? Shall the risks scare you away from trying out IVF? If not, then why is IVF classed as a high-risk pregnancy? Let’s see.
In-vitro fertilization is an assisted reproductive technique. It is availed of by many couples who fail to conceive naturally due to fertility issues. IVF involves, stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs which are retrieved before the due date of ovulation. The sperm collected from the male donor is then mixed with the aspirated eggs for fertilization. Following that, embryos are screened for competency. One or two best-quality embryos are injected into the uterus through the cervix. If they get implanted then pregnancy happens.
Why Is IVF Classed As High-Risk Pregnancy
IVF poses a number of life-threatening complications. It can have an impact not only on the mother but also on the baby. Given below are a few common IVF risks.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
As part of the IVF treatment, the ovaries are stimulated using GnRH(Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormones). Sometimes it might lead to the hyperstimulation of the ovaries a result of which they swell and start leaking fluid into the body. This is a painful condition and is associated with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, blood clots, and weight gain.
It takes a couple of weeks for the symptoms to subside. However, more severe conditions can lead to shortness of breath, renal failure, and an enlarged abdomen. Pregnancy before the symptoms have disappeared might lead to extreme discomfort and other complications.
What follows an IVF treatment is embryo transfer. In order to increase the chances of pregnancy, a lot of times multiple embryos are released into the uterus. This is done with the view that at least one of them would be competent enough to implant itself in the wall of the uterus and take the pregnancy forward.
However, in many cases, more than one embryo gets implanted. This goes completely against the safety of the mother and the baby. Multiple pregnancies lead to gestational hypertension, premature and complicated delivery, congenital defects in the fetus, and low birth weight among other adversities. In addition to that, the risks of miscarriage increase multifold in case of multiple pregnancies.
One of the most common risks of IVF is miscarriage. Studies have found that an IVF pregnancy is more likely to experience miscarriage than a normal pregnancy. However, the problem here does not lie with the procedure.
Women who choose in vitro fertilization are most of the time, older than women who get pregnant naturally. Since maternal age influence the rate of miscarriage, the reason behind the complication can be well understood.
In addition to that, the underlying cause of infertility might have something to do with the miscarriage at times. It is because the body wasn’t capable of natural conception that they chose the assisted reproductive technique. Therefore, in many IVF pregnancies, miscarriage happens just because the body is not conducive enough to carry a baby to full term.
An IVF pregnancy is at a higher risk of preeclampsia than a normal pregnancy. Preeclampsia is often called pregnancy-induced hypertension. It usually shows up around the second trimester and is marked by symptoms like protein in the urine, severe swelling in the extremities, hypertension, nausea, and blurred vision. It can be fatal for the mother as well as the baby.
The real cause of preeclampsia is often rooted in problems with placentation. It makes to the list of IVF risks because of the nature of the IVF treatment procedure. It is believed that when fertilization is done outside the body and the embryo is formed in-vitro, then trophoblast differentiation does not happen properly in some cases. This leads to improper placentation which gives rise to preeclampsia.
In addition to this, it has also been found that obesity and other underlying health conditions add up to the risks of increasing this particular condition in women getting pregnant through IVF.
It has been found that preterm delivery is more common among women with IVF pregnancies. One of the causes can be multiple pregnancies. When more than one embryo is transferred to the uterus and they get implanted, then multiple babies are delivered rather than singletons. In those cases, preterm labor and consequent delivery are common.
Some doctors also state that because of the hormonal treatment that women go through during IVF, the conditions of the uterus can be altered. in addition to that, during the invasive egg retrieval procedure, there are chances of the uterine lining getting damaged. These will also contribute to premature delivery.
Besides, since the in-vitro formation of the embryo shows anomalies with implantation and placentation, that might trigger labor and the need for emergency delivery before 37 weeks.
Since the last few weeks are extremely crucial for the development of vital organs of the baby, premature babies might need to be treated in the intensive neonatal care unit for quite a long them. They have a higher risk of developing abnormalities of the lungs and heart, issues with cognitive development, vision, hearing, and congenital defects.
Hope you are now clear about why IVF is classed as a high-risk pregnancy. From the discussed risks of IVF, it seems pretty clear that the complications have more to do with the underlying health condition and age of the mother than with the IVF procedure itself. However, the intent of this article was not to encourage you to steer clear of the assisted reproductive technique. A lot of women have achieved success through this and so can you. Stay in touch with your doctor, follow the instruction closely, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the rest will fall back in its place.