Why Is Ivf Classed As High-Risk Pregnancy


Why Is IVF Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure where a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are combined outside of the body in a lab, to create an embryo. IVF is a highly successful form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) which has helped many couples have children who otherwise may not have had the opportunity.

However, when compared to naturally conceived pregnancies, IVF-conceived pregnancies are considered to be high-risk. This is because there are additional health risks associated with IVF that don’t necessarily exist for naturally conceived pregnancies.

In this article, we’ll discuss why IVF pregnancies are considered high-risk, what medical conditions may arise, and how you can best prepare for the journey.



Why Is IVF Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?

The primary reason why IVF pregnancies are considered high-risk is because of the drug treatments used to stimulate the woman’s ovaries during the process. These drugs can result in an increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

OHSS is a dangerous complication that can result in serious health issues such as high blood pressure, blood clots, and infertility. Therefore, it is extremely important to discuss the potential risks with your doctor before proceeding with IVF treatment.

Other potential risks associated with IVF include:

  • Miscarriage: The risk of miscarriage is slightly higher when comparing IVF pregnancies to naturally conceived pregnancies. The risk of miscarriages in IVF pregnancies is estimated to be anywhere from 10%-39%.
  • Multiple Births: With IVF, it is common to transfer more than one embryo into the womb, resulting in a higher risk of multiple births such as twins, triplets, or more. This can increase the risks associated with the pregnancy and pose a strain on the mother both physically and emotionally.
  • Birth Defects: While the rate of birth defects is similar between IVF pregnancies and naturally conceived pregnancies, the risk of birth defects is slightly higher when looking at certain types, such as neural tube defects.

What Medical Conditions Might Arise?

The potential risks associated with IVF can be divided into two types: maternal risks and infant risks. Maternal risks are conditions that are experienced by the mother and can include:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Ectopic pregnancies
  • Cervical weakening or “incompetence”
  • Infection or inflammation

Infant risks are potential medical conditions experienced by the baby after birth, such as:

  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Gastrointestinal problems


It is important to note that, while IVF is a high-risk pregnancy, it is still a successful and rewarding procedure. Most couples who undergo the procedure go on to have healthy, normal babies.

How Can You Prepare for the Journey?

Although IVF pregnancies are considered to be high-risk, there are steps you can take to help reduce the chances of medical issues arising. The most important step you can take is to discuss your risks and concerns with your doctor before beginning IVF treatment.

Your doctor should provide you with a detailed health plan, tailored to your needs, to help you achieve a successful pregnancy. This plan may include information about medication and lifestyle changes that you should make to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.

In addition, it is important to be aware of signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem during the pregnancy. These may include vaginal bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, or difficulty breathing.

IVF is a highly successful form of assisted reproductive technology which has helped many couples have children that they may have not have had the opportunity otherwise. However, IVF pregnancies are considered to be high-risk due to the increased risk of pregnancy complications. It is important to discuss the potential risks with your doctor before proceeding with IVF treatment, and to follow their health plan to best reduce the chances of any medical issues arising.

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