In vitro fertilization (IVF) is no longer new these days; in fact it is now considered a normal option for couples to consider in planning for a pregnancy whether out of conception difficulties or to supposedly ensure a healthy pregnancy. There are however, complications related to it no matter how much the procedure has been perfected by modern technology.
Maternal complications of IVF may include the most common risk of multiple pregnancies, which even in natural conception is considered abnormal because the uterus is only intended for a single pregnancy. Multiple births may put an additional health demand on the woman.
In addition, multiple pregnancies are directly related to increased incidence of Miscarriages, Ectopic Pregnancies (with a failed treatment), Maternal Health Risks, Low Birth Weights and Premature Deliveries.
Another serious gynecologic problem is the incidence of Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), when in its severity may need surgical intervention or it can lead to a life threatening fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
The psychological depression for the woman if the IVF procedure becomes unsuccessful is also a concern for some couples.
Other adverse reactions are with the use of fertility drugs in IVF, which are associated with the increasing incidence of Ovarian, Breast And Endometrial Cancer; plus Inflammation, Allergic Reactions, Headache, Mood Changes, Hot Flushes and Vaginal Dryness as side effects of the drug.
There have also been reported problems during egg collection like bleeding episodes, infection and rare cases of injury to internal organs like the bladder and bowels.
The fetus/fetuses inside are not free from complications as well, in fact they are more prone to neonatal risks than that of a spontaneous conception. Complications may include: Preterm Delivery, Low Birth Weight, Respiratory Problems and Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin).
Birth defects have also been associated with IVF pregnancies like Heart Defects, Cleft Lip or Palate, Esophageal Atresia and Anorectal Atresia to name a few. Chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Gastro-Intestinal and Musculoskeletal Disorders have also been linked to IVF.
The serious question now lies whether to have it done or not, and the answer lies with the couple considering their options for having babies, a thorough assessment of their other alternatives should be exhaustively explained. If all else fails, IVF may then be seriously considered.