If you are considering in vitro fertilization, or IVF, you may have read or heard about some of the risks. Most couples are particularly concerned about IVF and the risk of miscarriage, and rightly so. Is IVF treatment worth the time, money, and emotional ups and downs if there is a risk of pregnancy ending in miscarriage? If you are worried about miscarriage and other risks associated with IVF, the doctors at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, CA can address your concerns.
Does IVF Increase the Risk of Miscarriage?
Research has found that IVF patients have a slightly increased risk of miscarriage. Studies conducted on this risk vary on how much more of a risk is involved. Most agree, however, that IVF increases the risk of miscarriage by as little as two to five percent compared with the risk of miscarriage when conceiving naturally.
Are There Other Factors at Play?
There are other factors involved that increase the risk of miscarriage. Many of the researchers involved in these studies do not believe that IVF treatment alone increases the risk and rate of miscarriage. Rather, they believe that this increased risk is more likely connected to the cause for seeking fertility treatments such as IVF.
In other words, the cause of your infertility may also be the reason you have an increased risk for miscarriage. Below are some of the more common causes of an increased risk for miscarriage when undergoing IVF.
- Advanced Maternal Age: Many women who choose to undergo IVF struggle to get pregnant naturally because they are over the age of 35. Women under the age of 35 have as little as a 15 percent chance of miscarriage when conceiving naturally. Those between 35 and 45 who undergo IVF have up to a 35 percent risk of miscarriage. For women over 45, the risk of miscarriage increases to 50 percent.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other reproductive conditions carry an increased risk of miscarriage. These conditions are also some of the more common reasons why women undergo fertility treatments such as IVF.
- Ovarian Stimulation: Most fertility treatments, including IVF, involve a certain level of ovarian stimulation. The greater levels of ovarian stimulation needed, the higher the risk may be for miscarriage.
Hyper-awareness may also play a role. Women who conceive naturally typically do not know they are pregnant for several weeks. Miscarriages typically happen within the first few weeks of the pregnancy, often before the woman realizes she was pregnant. With IVF, women and their doctors monitor every stage closely, and pregnancy is typically detected much earlier. Early detection may simply lead to higher reports of miscarriage.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are considering undergoing IVF treatment, it is important to talk with your doctor about any concerns you have. At our fertility center, our doctors can answer all your questions and help you understand any elevated risks with treatment. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment and learn more.