Like any drug you take, fertility drugs come with risks and side effects. Of course, they also bring the miracle of life with them when nothing else is effective. Before committing to a course of fertility drugs it is important to understand exactly what you are getting into and how to reduce the chance of complications.
While it is certainly important to educate yourself about the risks of fertility treatments, at the same time you have to prevent yourself from becoming over-anxious about these risks. Anxiety will only cause more problems during treatment, should you choose to go forward.
Fertility Treatment And Multiples
Most people know that using fertility treatments to conceive will drastically increase the risk of a multiple pregnancy. In most cases this results in twins, but in some cases can produce higher numbers.
Multiple pregnancies are a risk with both IVF and IUI treatments; although with an IVF you can choose to only have one embryo implanted in the uterus. Using fertility drugs during IUI treatment can result in a multiple pregnancies if more than one egg is release from the ovary.
The risk of multiples depends on several factors, such as the dosage and type of medication as well as how your body responds to the medication, as some people are more sensitive than others. Clomid, for example will increase the chance of a twin pregnancy by 10%. Gonadotropins, which mimic FSH and LH hormones can increase the chance of multiples of 30%.
OHSS – Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
This condition is a risk that is associated with fertility drug use and occurs when the ovaries become filled with fluid, which is then released into the uterus during ovulation. This fluid release can cause several complications including blood clots or kidney failure. Most often OHSS can be treated at home, but needs close monitoring by a fertility doctor.
It is possible to reduce the risk of OHSS by taking a lower dose of fertility drugs and to monitor your fertility cycle closely. Many fertility clinics will try to administer a higher dose of fertility drugs in order to ensure success when a gradual approach is probably better.
Blood work tests done during your treatment will ensure that your estrogen levels don’t run too high. Ultrasounds can be conducted at regular intervals to make sure that the ovaries don’t become enlarged or develop too many follicles. By catching symptoms early your fertility doctor can treat any side effects before they cause problems.