+43 (0)463 89 01 31

+43 (0)463 89 01 31

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+43 (0)463 89 01 31
✉ klagenfurt[at]tfp-fertility[dot]com

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Treatment risks of IVF

There are some problems and risks that can occur as a result of IVF treatment. We have listed some below to help you understand the process:

1Failure of the stimulation treatment: The stimulation of the ovarian function doesn't occur. Even an increase in the dosage has no effect. In the puncture procedure the eggs are extracted from an average of 80% of matured follicles; however, it occasionally happens that no egg is extracted. Causes for this can be: the oocytes are empty (formation of cysts); the follicles moved just before the puncture; during the puncture, the follicle wall broke down and emptied its content in the abdominal cavity.
2Although you will receive training from us on how to apply the necessary injections and we are available AT ANY TIME to answer your questions, we cannot exclude the possibility of the wrong application of the drugs (for example wrong time of day, wrong dosage, etc.). This is usually due to misunderstandings about the details of the procedure. Please contact us at any time whenever you have doubts or questions as we cannot take responsibility for the consequences of the wrong application of the drugs, as this is out of our control. If you experience any problems with the application of the drugs, your family doctor, local hospital or other health establishment should be able to assist you with the injections. If you live close to the clinic, we can also offer that you come to us.
Over-stimulation of the ovaries can arise due to the hormone stimulation. This rare complication occurs after the puncture. The first symptoms are: thick, inflated belly; pain in the abdominal area; nausea; shortage of breath or a tickle in your throat; reduced quantity of urine. The fact that the blood thickens is of clinical concern. This increases the risk of blood clots and also thrombosis or embolisms. These can be treated using anticoagulatory measures. Treatment for these conditions should take place in a hospital as there is a risk to the patient. If the patient is pregnant, the symptoms can last until the 10th week of pregnancy. After that most symptoms disappear spontaneously without causing any permanent damage. However, due to the size of the ovaries, they can rotate on their own axis (centre). This is very painful and carries the risk of insufficient blood supply reaching the affected ovaries. When this occurs, an abdominoscopy is usually carried out, which mneas a short stay in hospital.
3Sometimes an ovary is in a position in which it cannot be punctured. Also an ovary can be too mobile and thus avoid the needle - again making the puncture impossible to be performed.
4The puncture of the oocytes is carried out through the vagina, using (if desired) anaesthesia. Here, the anaesthesia can lead to complications (e.g. nausea, vomiting, circulatory problems, headaches and in rare cases apnoea).
5Injuries to the blood vessels, the urethra or intestinal loops: During the puncture, a thin needle pierces the vagina wall to reach the ovaries. There is a risk during this procedure that neighbouring organs can be harmed. A clean cut of the intestine or the bladder is relatively safe. However, injuries to the pelvic wall's blood vessels or the urethra are problematic as they can lead to intense internal haemorrhages or the leaking of urine into the abdominal area. In these cases, surgery (in a hospital) would be required. In extremely rare cases there is also the danger of major haemorrhages or inflammatory reactions.
6Sometimes the fertilisation rate is low. In the cell culture approximately 60 to 70% of the eggs are fertilised. The percentage of fertilised eggs depends on the maturation condition of the eggs and the sperm quality (the latter plays a decisive role in this aspect of the procedure).
7During the preparation of the eggs and the incubation of embryos in the lab, a problem can occur in the nutrient solution due to technical malfunctions. We have made stringent provisions to avoid such malfunctions.
8In some rare cases, the embryo transfer through the uterine cervix channel in the uterus can be difficult and painful. After the insertion, inflammations rarely occur in the uterus and the embryo transfer seldom fails completely.
9The biggest problem in IVF is loss of the embryo after the transfer due to a non-nidation on the uterine mucosa. The causes of this are to a large extent unknown, and therefore there is nothing you or we can do to prevent this occurrence. We shape the luteal phase (the time after the transfer) using hormones in order to reach optimal nidation conditions.
10The chance of a multiple pregnancy increases with IVF. About 25% of all such pregnancies are twin pregnancies. Triplets or quadruplets, although rare, can also occur even when fewer embryos are implanted (a triplets pregnancy is, for example, also possible with the transfer of only two embryos). Multiple-pregnancies are NOT - contrary to the wish of many couples - the aim of our reproductive medicine procedures, because they represent an even higher risk for complications (premature birth, handicapped children, etc.). Triplets and quadruplets, particularly, represent clear risks!
11Another risk is the spreading of germs in the abdominal area followed by infection. This complication, though rare, is easily treated with antibiotics. Only occasionally is surgery necessary ("peritonitis" or abdominal abscess).
12Tubal pregnancies can also occur after an IVF treatment even though the embryos are transferred directly into the uterus.
13In pregnancies resulting from IVF or ICSI, the risk of miscarriage (abortion) is unfortunately twice as high as in a normal pregnancy.
14Psychological problems can occur before, during or after the treatment.
15Cancer risk: It has been suspected that the ovarian stimulation increases the risk of cancer. A retrospective study was carried out to investigate the risks. 5026 women who had undergone IVF treatments between 1981 and 1992 were examined. The Israeli National Cancer Registry served as a control. A total of 27 carcinomas were observed in the IVF patients, whereas 35.6 carcinomas were expected. In the gynaecological area, 11 (15.86 expected) breast cancers were observed as were 1 (1.7 expected) ovarian carcinoma and 1 (1.7 expected) uterine carcinoma. Neither the type of sterility nor the number of IVF cycles (nor their results) had any significant influence on the carcinoma risk. The study shows that an IVF treatment has no influence on the carcinoma risk. Literature: Dor J., Lerner-Geva L., Rabinovici J., Chetrit A., Levran D., Lunenfeld B., Mashiach S., Modan B. (2002) Cancer incidence in a cohort of infertile women who underwent in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril. 77:324-327.

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