Planning for IVF? Things you must knowSubscribe

Most doctors believe IVF is the most effective and best-assisted pregnancy method. It has a high success rate, based on research. However, there are still things that every couple should keep in mind before choosing IVF because the chances of a healthy baby after IVF still depend on various factors:

· Age of the mother – Younger mothers have higher chances of getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. The mother’s egg cells are healthier when they are younger. However, if the mother is 41 and above, she is usually advised to consider donor eggs.

· Reproductive History – It’s easier for women to get pregnant if they have given birth in the past, compared to women who have never given birth. Women who may have previously used IVF multiple times and still haven’t given birth show lower success rates.

· Embryo Status – This is specific to the beneficiary. Usually, the transfer of more developed embryos is considered to result in higher pregnancy rates. That said, not all embryos survive the development process. Similarly, the causes of infertility, as well as lifestyle factors, matter a lot as well. Smokers usually have fewer eggs retrieved; obesity can reduce the chances of pregnancy. So can recreationally used drugs, certain medicines, excessive caffeine, etc. 

Since we are discussing important things one must know, let’s quickly also look at some of the significant risks and complications attached to IVF:

1. Multiple Births, Preemies and Low Birth Weight – In the case of multiple embryos being transferred to the uterus, one might have multiple babies. This can cause early labour or low-weight pregnancies. Even without multiple births, IVF slightly increases the chances of premature delivery and low birth weight.

2. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – Due to injections of drugs to enhance fertility, the ovaries can become painful and swollen. This might cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating and diarrhoea. In cases of pregnancy, the symptoms might last for weeks at a stretch. In rare cases, one might develop severe forms of the syndrome.

3. Miscarriage – Miscarriages occur similarly in IVF pregnancies as in natural pregnancies. However, maternal age causes the rate of miscarriage to increase.

4. Ectopic pregnancy – This may be caused in 2-5% of women who seek IVF treatment because the embryo attaches to the fallopian tubes, where it cannot survive and continuing the pregnancy isn’t possible.

Procedural complications, congenital disabilities and the possibilities of cancer are risks still being studied in the context of IVF. Initially, it was believed that the drugs used to enhance fertility might increase the rate of all these complications. Later studies do not support such findings. However, doctors feel that these areas need to be studied more to reach concrete conclusions.

All said and done, despite all the benefits of IVF, the procedure comes with its risks and can cause substantial financial, physical, emotional and social stress to people who opt for this treatment. Hence, it’s essential to constantly seek support from your treating doctors and additional help from family, friends and maybe even a therapist. After all, it does take a village to raise a child.




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