Whilst taking the first drug, some women experience mild side-effects. These may include hot flushes, feelings of depression and irritability, headaches and sleeplessness. These side-effects usually disappear once the second drugs begin and they are not a cause for concern.
Serious, intolerable side effects are almost nil with this treatment except in severe form of Ovarian Hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS), the incidence being less than 1%.
Before the final hormone injection there will be an ultrasound scan to see how many eggs are developing on the ovaries. At this stage it may be clear that a woman has over-responded to the drugs and too many eggs have been produced. The woman may feel bloated and have abdominal pain. To avoid the development of more serious side-effects, known as Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome, the final hormone injection and egg collection may have to be cancelled. If the cycle is abandoned at this stage, ovarian hyper stimulation is avoided.
Despite careful monitoring, a small number of women may develop a mild or moderate form of the syndrome. Cysts may appear on the ovaries and fluid may collect in the abdominal cavity, causing abdominal discomfort. This condition needs to be monitored by a fertility specialist. It is usually treated by bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking simple painkillers.
Very rarely (in about 1% of cases) the response to the super ovulatory drugs is excessive and a large number of eggs develop causing the ovaries to swell. Side-effects such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling, and shortness of breath occur. A patient may also feel weak and faint and notice a reduction in urine output. These serious complications require urgent hospital treatment to restore the fluid balance and monitor progress.