Risks of fertility treatment

At the CRGW we take a responsible attitude to the risks associated with infertility treatment and wish to minimise these risks for your safety and that of resulting pregnancies..

Common side effects of down-regulation drugs are hot flushes, headaches and mood swings. These symptoms are due to low oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is the hormone normally produced by the ovary in the early phase of the menstrual cycle and symptoms are short-lived and subside when the injections start. They may recur after treatment, as you are not having further hormone support following the egg retrieval.

The two most common problems associated with fertility treatments are ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and multiple pregnancy.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Despite careful monitoring, a small number of women may over-respond to the injections. This can result in a condition known as OHSS which can vary in severity. In most cases the symptoms subside spontaneously.

In a mild form - the ovaries are slightly enlarged and you may feel abdominal ‘cramps'. If so, please notify staff when attending CRGW.

In the severest form - the ovaries are very enlarged and fluid can gather in the abdominal cavity causing discomfort or pain. Admission to hospital will be required for observation and appropriate treatment.

See factsheet on Download page for further information

Multiple pregnancy

Multiple pregnancies following IVF or ICSI are the most important problems patients face. The stark facts show increases in maternal problems through and after pregnancy, and also in increased problems for the children. The main problems are miscarriage, hypertension, premature labour and caesarean section or delivery with forceps. The risks to the children and their development are also much increased.

We strongly advice women who are at particular risk of multiple pregnancy to think in terms of having one embryo replaced at a time (eSET; elective single embryo transfer). Please see our factsheet on our downloads page for more information