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The Safety of IVF

The medicines and procedures required for IVF rarely are associated with problems or complications. Patients should be aware, however, that injections may cause bruising, and the controlled ovarian hyperstimulation from these medicines can result in discomfort, bloating and in less than one percent of cases, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Despite recent popular press, critical evaluations of recent studies have failed to confirm a link between these medicines and ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, we use all medications judiciously and only for accepted indications.

Egg retrieval at the Toll Center for Reproductive Sciences at Abington Memorial Hospital is painless. Trained nurse anesthetists monitor your progress while you lightly sleep with the aid of intravenous sedation. Antibiotics are also provided to prevent or limit local infections from the retrieval of eggs.

Although injuries to adjacent organs such as bowel or blood vessels have been reported in medical literature, we have never experienced any of these problems, and no Abington Reproductive Medicine patient has ever required a blood transfusion.

IVF does not cause an increase in birth defects, and the incidence of miscarriages is the same as age-adjusted rates (approximately 20 percent). Ectopic pregnancies or combined tubal and uterine pregnancies are rare. Twins or occasionally higher-order, multiple pregnancies can occur, with one in four of patients delivering twins. While our goal is a single healthy baby, patients have control over the number of embryos we transfer. In the unlikely event of higher orders of multiple pregnancies, maternal-fetal subspecialists from outside facilities may be consulted to review options.

Finally, while IVF remains a stressful and emotionally charged experience, the doctors, nurses, technicians and staff of Abington Reproductive Medicine will be there with you every step of the way, providing you with the comfort, support and expertise you need.