During treatment

Complications requiring hospital admission of the female partner occur in about 1 per cent of all treatment cycles. Just over half of these admissions are due to symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) — a potentially serious medical condition — and the rest occur because of surgical complications from egg collection, such as bleeding and infection. Very rarely, in about 1 in 50,000 treatment cycles, serious complications arise from the general anaesthesia given during egg collection.

In Chapter 6 I outline the potential side effects of the drugs you take during IVF treatment. When follicles develop in response to the hormone injections, mild pelvic pain and feeling bloated are common. In most cases the symptoms are fairly minor and ease over time. But occasionally they become severe and some women, especially those who have very large numbers of follicles, develop OHSS. Doctors aren't sure exactly why this happens, but the hormone production associated with the growth of a lot of follicles can shift fluid from the bloodstream into the abdominal cavity and chest. In very rare cases this can lead to blood clots, kidney failure and respiratory problems — even death.

OHSS is categorised depending on the severity of the symptoms:

1 Mild: Your ovaries are a bit enlarged and you feel bloated and uncomfortable. The pain and discomfort can slow you in your tracks for a few days and you may need to take painkillers. About one in three women get mild OHSS as a result of the IVF hormone stimulation.

1 Moderate: Your ovaries are enlarged and the pain and discomfort are pretty severe. Your tummy feels really tender and swollen and you may have trouble doing up your pants or skirt. Your doctor may admit you to hospital to keep an eye on things and give you adequate pain relief. About one in 250 women are admitted to hospital with moderate OHSS.

1 Severe: Your ovaries are several times their normal size, you have a lot of fluid in your abdomen and around your lungs, and you have severe pain. For one in 1,000 women the symptoms of OHSS are so severe that they need treatment in an intensive care unit.

OHSS is self-limiting and in most women the symptoms disappear by the time their next period starts. However, if you're pregnant the symptoms may take a turn for the worse and you may need to be admitted to hospital until things settle down.

Your doctor does several things to reduce the risk of OHSS:

1 Prescribing the lowest possible dose of follicle-stimulating hormone

1 Cancelling your cycle if the ultrasound scan shows that you're growing masses of follicles or your hormone levels are too high i Freezing your embryos and deferring embryo transfer to avoid you getting pregnant until your ovaries have returned to normal

You may feel just fine when you leave the clinic after your embryo transfer, but a few days later you may start to get symptoms of OHSS. Mild symptoms occasionally get worse pretty quickly, so contact the nurses or your doctor if you think you're developing OHSS.

Pregnancy Diet Plan

Pregnancy Diet Plan

The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.

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