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In Vitro Fertilization (cont.)

Risks of In Vitro Fertilization

There are rare risks associated with any surgical procedure such as the egg retrieval procedure necessary for IVF. These include bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or other organs from the procedure.

One risk that is specific to the medications used for stimulation is known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS is seen in certain women who take medications to stimulate the ovaries and affects up to 10% of women who undergo IVF. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, a woman may experience bloating, mild pain or cramping, and weight gain. Severe cases are characterized by significant weight gain (for example, over 10 pounds in a few days), shortness of breath, and severe pain or swelling in the abdomen. Severe cases may need to be managed in the hospital. Treatment includes rest, hydration, and avoidance of strenuous activity. OHSS generally resolves on its own once the cycle is over.

Cancelled Cycles In some cases, if a woman does not respond sufficiently to the medications and an insufficient number of follicles are produced or matured, the cycle may be cancelled. This means that the egg retrieval does not take place.

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Infertility affects approximately 13-14% of reproductive-aged couples.

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