What are the risks associated with in vitro fertilization?

As with most medical procedures, there are potential risks. The risks of in vitro fertilization correspond with each specific step of the procedure. Ovary stimulation carries the risk of hyperstimulation, where the ovaries become swollen and painful. This condition, “Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome”, is usually rare, mild, and has following potential side effects: nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, or a feeling of being bloated. More severe symptoms that occur in 1% of cases include the following:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Decreased urinary frequency
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ten pound weight gain within three to five days

Egg retrieval and the use of laparoscopy carry the typical risks associated with receiving anesthesia. Additionally, there is a very minimal risk of bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel, bladder, or blood vessel. Less than one patient in 1,000 will require surgery to repair damage caused during the egg retrieval process. These insignificant side effects should not make the couple worry about the procedures which are really safe for most of the patients.