The doctors and staff at The Fertility Center of Las Vegas are committed to continuous research in infertility and reproductive endocrinology, their published work has had a tremendous impact on the safety of fertility treatments.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
Fertility treatments routinely require medications to get the ovaries to produce many eggs for an In Vitro Fertilization cycle. A large number of ovaries increases the chance of pregnancy, but unfortunately has also been associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which is sometimes called the most important side effect of fertility treatment. One of the multiple benefits of our published research is the ability to virtually eliminate the risk of significant OHSS through the use of a “Lupron trigger” for oocyte maturation. We have not had a case of OHSS significant enough to require any treatment since June, 2008.
Another risk of fertility treatment is ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside the uterus. There are many suspected causes, but ectopic pregnancies are more frequent in pregnancies following fertility treatment than in natural pregnancies. One suspected cause is ovarian stimulation and the resulting extreme hormone levels disturbing the uterine environment. Again, our published research has shown that our frozen embryo program has minimized ectopic pregnancy risk. Also, our egg donor program has not had an ectopic pregnancy since 2003, and as this is written, we have had 468 consecutive pregnancies using embryos from donor oocytes since our last ectopic pregnancy in our egg donor program. The donor recipient is not exposed to ovarian stimulation before embryo transfer.
Other aspects of safety relate to the health of the resulting children. We do not have statistics specifically for the health of infants from our own programs, but the published reports have suggested that frozen embryo transfer cycles in general are associated with reduced risks of low birthweight, very low birthweight, small for gestational age, pre-term birth, antepartum hemorrhage, placental abruption, perinatal mortality, and pre-eclampsia. The overall pattern may be that the better uterine environment in frozen embryo cycles is more receptive and not only increases the chance of an embryo implanting, but also improves the quality of implantation resulting in better fetal growth.
Another risk to both mother and infant is the risk of multiple pregnancy, especially high-order multiple pregnancy (triplets or more). Our high implantation rates, particularly in our frozen embryo program, allow us to achieve high success rates with just one transferred embryo, and roughly half of all transfers at this center are single embryo transfers. Our pre-implantation genetic screening program also gives us more confidence in transferring just one embryo. Our low number of embryos transferred has resulted in a low number of high-order multiple pregnancies, so that we have not had a high order multiple pregnancy among more than 1000 IVF pregnancies achieved since mid-2010.