You are typically sedated during the egg retrieval process and again during the embryo transfer process and therefore quite comfortable. Most women say that the procedure is painless and compare it to having a Pap smear. Some women note that after the procedure they have cramping, which usually goes away with rest and a mild pain reliever.
Risks are infrequent with the IVF procedure, but you need to be aware that they could occur. Risks include:
• Multiple pregnancy
• Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
Infection with a bacteria or virus could occur during the IVF procedure from contaminated equipment or the sperm itself.
Bleeding is unlikely but could occur during the egg retrieval portion of the procedure. If this occurs, a blood transfusion or surgery may be required to correct the situation.
Because you are using fertility medication to induce ovulation, you have an increased risk of multiple pregnancy. However, in the case of IVF, your doctor will determine how many embryos to transfer back to your uterus and thereby keep it to a reasonable number. Talk with your doctor about the number of embryos that you will have transferred back to your uterus. You'll also want to address, ahead of time, what to do with any leftover embryos that cannot be transferred back during that treatment cycle.
If your doctor suspects OHSS, the IVF will be canceled for that treatment cycle. (For a more detailed discussion of OHSS, see Chapter 6.)
There has been some speculation about the possibility of linking IVF to an increased incidence of birth defects. It is known that chromosomal abnormalities increase as a woman ages or if a man has abnormal sperm. However, minimal evidence exists to support the suggestion that the IVF procedure itself increases the risk of birth defects.
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Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.