BONUS 250: The Risks of IVF

March 13, 2020

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Today’s bonus episode guest is Dr. Allison Rodgers. She is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and has been practicing medicine since 2004. Dr. Rodgers currently practices at the Fertility Centers of Illinois. Her personal experiences with both secondary infertility and pregnancy loss have given her a unique insight into reproductive medicine in order to help you beat infertility.

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Dr. Rodgers begins by answering six listener questions. The full questions are read on the air, but here are brief summaries:

  • Jessica has consulted a genetic counselor about her low-level mosaic embryos. She asks about the guidelines at FCI about pass/fail qualifications for PGT-A embryos.
  • Avril is a 41-year-old single lady with mild PCOS. After unsuccessful IVF cycles and losses, her RE has suggested testing for translocation. She asks what she should do next.
  • Allyson has had five miscarriages over four years of trying to conceive, all of them occurring at 10-11 weeks. She asks about further testing and other recommendations.
  • Suzanne is moving to IVF after several unsuccessful IUI cycles. She’s hoping to bank ten normal embryos in the hopes of having three children. She asks if her chances are better with frozen transfers vs. fresh transfers.
  • Andrea has had two miscarriages, and her left tube is blocked. Her doctor recommends a uterine biopsy, ERA, and mock transfer. She asks if her appendectomy at age 5 has any connection to the blocked tube, if the tube should be removed before transfer, and if Dr. Rodgers has other recommendations.
  • Laura is finishing her fourth failed single FET and is considering transferring two embryos next time. She lives in Germany, where genetic testing is prohibited, so she asks if two embryos would increase her chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Dr. Rodgers and Heather continue the episode by discussing the possible risks of IVF to both mother and baby:

  • Mother
    • Fertility medication side effects (short-term and long-term, like cancer)
      • What are common side effects?
      • What is the possibility that patients will experience side effects (short-term and long-term)?
      • Can doctors minimize the risk of patients having side effects?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • OHSS
      • What is it?
      • How common is it?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Ectopic pregnancy
      • What is it?
      • How common is it? Is it more common following IVF than with spontaneous pregnancies?
      • Can doctors minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Bleeding or infection following a retrieval
      • What is it?
      • How common is it?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Multiples pregnancy
      • What are the risks to the mother of being pregnant with multiples?
      • How common is it?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Pregnancy complications (with singletons)
      • What are common pregnancy complications following IVF?
      • What is the possibility of the patient developing these complications?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
  • Baby
    • Preterm birth
      • How is preterm birth defined?
      • How common is it?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Other risks of multiples
      • Beyond prematurity, what are the risks to the babies?
      • How common are they?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Birth defects
      • What are some examples of birth defects following IVF?
      • How common are they?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
    • Childhood cancers
      • What childhood cancers have studies shown to be at an increased risk of developing following IVF?
      • How common is this?
      • Can doctors and/or patients minimize the risk?
      • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add? (Some good news, perhaps?)
  • What words of hope would you offer to patients who are starting their first or next IVF cycle?

Have a question you want Dr. Rodgers to answer next time she’s on? Click here.

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