In Vitro Fertilization Part 1: Do You Have a Plan for Your Pregnancy?

couple smiling down at pregnancy test If you’re struggling to start a family, it’s likely your primary focus is on getting pregnant. But keep an eye on your true goal— a healthy baby. Before going through the challenges of in vitro fertilization, you owe it to yourself to visit an OB/GYN for a pre-pregnancy consultation. In addition, if you have any medical issues, no matter how small you think they are, you should consider seeing a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist for a more thorough evaluation of your problem.  A maternal-fetal medicine doctor can do basic tests and advise you of the challenges and possible solutions your issue may have on a potential pregnancy.

Consider the risks of multiple embryos

Before starting your IVF procedure, you need to be aware that multiple gestations (twins, triplets, and other multiples) are much more common with IVF. The more embryos that are transferred to your uterus, the greater the risk of complications for both you and your unborn babies. Due to the dramatically increased risk of multiples through IVF, you should strongly consider single embryo transfer at a reputable IVF center.  It’s now possible to do pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos for chromosome abnormalities. An experienced IVF doctor can improve the success of IVF in single embryo cases by only transferring the healthiest embryos with the highest likelihood of fertility.  This is important, as multiple gestations can result in the following complications:
  • Preterm labor (which can harm the babies)
  • Preterm delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Fetal and infant death
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion
  • Maternal hemorrhage
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cesarean delivery
If you’ve already weathered the challenges of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and received the happy news you’re pregnant, it’s time to consider the kind of prenatal care you’re going to need to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible. Go to Part 2