Risks of IVF Treatment

What are the possible complications of IVF treatment?

 IVF is basically a safe procedure. However, as with any surgical procedure, a few patients will experience side effects and complications. The most common complications associated with IVF treatment are the failure of treatment, problems experienced as a consequence of ovarian stimulation, the risk of multiple pregnancy, the risks associated with egg collection and the possibility of ectopic pregnancy.

How often these problems occur, how they can be prevented, and how dangerous they are, will be discussed in the following pages.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF pregnancy)

More than 3 million babies have been born by ART methods since the birth of the first IVF baby Louise Brown. Unfortunately, not all IVF procedures that result in a pregnancy lead to a live birth. Approximately 15-20% of IVF pregnancies do not result in a live birth. The table below summarizes the overall outcome of IVF pregnancies compared to natural conception.

Pregnancy after IVF

    IVF pregnancy   Natural conception   Comments
  Miscarriage   14-30%   15-20%   Slight increase, due to older age.
  Ectopic pregnancy   1-11%   0.2-1.4%   Increase due to many factors.
  Preterm delivery   24-30%   6-7%   Four-fold increase.
  Small birth weight   27-32%   5-7%   Five-fold increase.
  Stillbirth rate   1.2%   0.6%   Two-fold increase.
  Perinatal death   2.7%   1.0%   Two-fold increase.
  Congenital abnormalities   0.8-5.4%   0.8-4.5%   No significant increase.
  Caesarean section   33-58%   10-25%   Increase mainly because of multiple pregnancy and woman's age.
  Multiple pregnancy
  Twins   24-31%   1.2-4.5%   Increase due to higher number of embryos transferred.


  0.5-5.2%   0.012%
  Quadruplets   0.5%   0.0001%

Outcome of children born following IVF treatment

Follow-up of children born as a result of IVF, ICSI and other forms of assisted conception is needed to study issues such as genetic risk, congenital malformation, psychological development, educational development, fertility, and risk of cancer. Current data demonstrated no significant differences in the incidence of congenital and chromosomal abnormalities in children conceived after IVF compared to children conceived naturally. Furthermore, children appear to develop normally both from fresh and frozen embryo transfer.


Male Infertility


Female Infertility


Diagnosis Male


Diagnosis Female

You are here: Infertility Treatment Risks of IVF Treatment