ART Complications

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Question

What are complications of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Answer

Complications of ART include the following:

  • Birth defects - Children conceived using ART procedures have a 7% rate of severe genetic defects in contrast to 4% for children conceived naturally

  • Low birth weight - Low birth weight is common for both single and multiple birth children conceived using ART treatments.

  • Multiple births - Fertility drugs may increase a woman's chance of giving birth to twins, triplets, or other multiples. Women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses have an increased risk of problems during their pregnancy. The fetuses have a higher risk of premature birth, which may cause health and developmental problems. Due to these issues, some couples decide to have one or more of the fetuses removed to improve the survival rate of the remaining fetuses.

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) - The ovaries may become over stimulated during treatment. If this occurs, the ovaries may enlarge, and cause pain and bloating. These symptoms often improve without treatment. In some cases, however, fluid accumulation in the abdominal and chest cavities may cause breathing problems and low blood pressure, requiring emergency treatment.

  • Surgery complications - Occasionally ART treatments may cause bleeding or infection.

  • Third party reproduction issues - Ethical and legal issues may occur when third party reproduction is used. These problems are more likely to develop if the pregnancy results in serious disabilities, miscarriage, or multiple births. Despite signing legal contracts, the couple or the surrogate mother sometimes also change their minds.

Read an In-Depth Report on infertility in women in our Health Encyclopedia.

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