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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

One risk associated with IVF, however, is the possibility of multiple births. It is likely after transfer that more than one embryo will implant itself in your uterine lining, which increases your chance of having a pregnancy with two or more babies to 20 to 40 percent. You might consider this a blessing, but multiple fetuses increase your risk of miscarriage and other complications during pregnancy.

IVF, as with all ART treatments, also increases your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg is unable to travel down to the uterus. Instead, it may implant in another location such as the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, in the abdomen, or on the cervix.

The most serious risk associated with IVF is excessive stimulation of the ovaries. As a result of taking fertility drugs, some women develop a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS only occurs in 3 to 5 percent of IVF cycles and is caused when the body has an "over response" to fertility drugs. Too many eggs are produced, causing the ovaries to swell. In rare cases, OHSS can be life-threatening and requires hospitalization, but most cases resolve themselves on their own with careful monitoring by a doctor.

Cost of IVF

Only about 5 percent of couples with infertility seek out IVF, possibly because it's so expensive. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the average cost of one cycle is $12,400, but the price varies depending on where you live, your medications, and the number of cycles you undergo. Oftentimes your insurance company will pay a portion of the cost of the procedure. Because IVF is so complex and costly, it is generally reserved for cases in which other methods, such as fertility drugs, surgery, and artificial insemination, have failed.

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