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Understanding the Possible Side Effects of IVF

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on August 01, 2017

A woman holding her cramping abdomenFor couples that have struggled to become pregnant, starting a family may seem like an impossible dream. At the Pacific Fertility Center, we help couples realize their dreams of parenthood through fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an advanced fertility treatment that can help couples overcome infertility and successfully conceive.

As part of the IVF treatment process, multiple medications and some minor medical procedures are required, which can result in some side effects. Today we will focus on some possible side effects that may be expected with IVF treatment. For answers to your questions about IVF side effects or other fertility treatments, contact the Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, CA.

What Is In Vitro Fertilization?

In vitro fertilization, commonly called IVF, is a form of assisted reproductive technology, or ART. Through IVF, eggs are manually fertilized using a sperm sample from a woman's partner or donor.

IVF has helped many couples with fertility issues successfully conceive.  IVF may be right for you if you have:

  • Damaged, blocked, or removed fallopian tubes
  • Ovulation disorders, uterine fibroids, or premature ovarian failure
  • Decreased sperm count or decreased sperm motility
  • Unexplained infertility

The IVF Treatment Process

The IVF treatment process begins with taking fertility medications to stimulate egg production. The ovaries will be monitored with a transvaginal ultrasound to determine when the eggs have matured so that they may be retrieved. Egg retrieval is performed using a needle guided by ultrasound into the pelvic cavity.

Once the eggs are removed, they may be combined with sperm in a laboratory dish, in a process called insemination. The eggs will be monitored for signs of fertilization. Three to five days later, fertilized eggs, called embryos, may be transferred into a woman's uterus. If successful, implantation will occur about six to ten days after egg retrieval.

The Possible Side Effects of IVF

In vitro fertilization requires a variety of medications throughout the treatment process. With these medications comes the possibility of side effects during the treatment process and shortly after. However, for most, the chances of starting a family through IVF far outweigh the possible side effects.  Some possible side effects include:

  • Mild cramping
  • Mild bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Leaking a small amount of clear or blood-tinged fluid after the procedure
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome

Some potential side effects that should not be ignored and be brought to your doctor's attention immediately include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • A fever over 100.5° F

Learn More about Fertility Treatments

Our fertility specialists at the Pacific Fertility Center are dedicated to helping those who dream of having a family realize their dreams of parenthood regardless of marital status or income. If you would like more information about fertility treatments and how we may be able to help you, please schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.

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