Since the 1st successful IVF pregnancy in 1978, more than 5 million children have been born as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART). In developed nations, between 2% and 4% of all children are born following fertility treatment.
Am I at increased risk of complications?
Although most pregnancies following ART will be straightforward, there is a higher rate of pregnancy complications. Women who conceive through IVF are often older and are more likely to have underlying health problems. They have a higher chance of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth and are more likely to need a caesarean section. Severe pre-eclampsia is more common, particularly in pregnancies with donor eggs. There is also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and a higher rate of twin pregnancy.
What additional care do you recommend in an IVF pregnancy?
An early pregnancy ultrasound at 7-8 weeks is recommended to rule out ectopic pregnancy and look for twins/triplets.
Women at increased risk of pre-eclampsia may need low-dose aspirin therapy. Antenatal care should include careful monitoring for pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction, with regular blood pressure checks and ultrasound scans for fetal wellbeing.
Prenatal screening for Down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions is affected by certain types of IVF (e.g. donor eggs), and twin/triplet pregnancies (including vanishing twin). Get advice from a specialist who has a lot of experience in these uncommon circumstances.
As always, this information is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Please discuss any medical issues with your own doctor. Read our full medical disclaimer here.