Most medical procedures come with varying degrees of risks, and IVF is no exception. While IVF is considered quite safe, some individuals may notice reactions to the medication or side effects from the egg retrieval and embryo transfer process. In this blog, we outline some of the most common temporary side effects — ranging from site bruising and water retention to hot flashes and nausea. Although the term ‘side effects’ can sound a little scary, the great news is that they are typically mild and short-lived. As each patient journey is unique, we recommend that you discuss any questions or concerns with your medical team.
IVF Injection Side Effects
Injectable fertility medications are part of the IVF process. They support your ability to conceive by helping your eggs develop and mature, as well as prepare the uterus for implantation. Below are some of the most common side effects from IVF injections.
Bruising and Soreness from IVF Injections
It’s very common to experience bruising or soreness at the injection sites. In order to reduce this side effect, it is often recommended to use different injection sites. This should help alleviate some soreness and bruising, although it may not eliminate it entirely.
Hot Flashes During IVF Injections
In some cases, women experience hot flashes. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth across the entire body. Usually, it is most noticeable in the face, chest, and neck. You may become red and begin to sweat. After the hot flash has ended, you might even feel a chill due to the loss of body heat.
Nausea During IVF Injections
Nausea is another common IVF side effect. During IVF, nausea may occur for various reasons. It could be a side effect from the medication itself. For some, it may also arise due to the needle being injected. Either way, nausea is common and usually nothing to worry about.
Headaches During IVF Injections
An IVF headache is very common in the following hours after injection. In fact, if you tend to experience headaches as your menstrual cycle fluctuates, you may be more at risk of experiencing headaches as a side effect during IVF.
Breast Tenderness During IVF Injections
Breast tenderness is a side effect that many women may have experienced when on birth control or other hormonal contraception. Since fertility drugs contain hormones, IVF may also cause this effect.
Abdominal Bloating During IVF Injections
IVF bloating is similar to what many women experience during their menstrual cycle. Many women experience bloating before or after their period. This bloating may last for hours or several days. It may feel uncomfortable. However, it should not become painful. If this happens, ensure you check in with your doctor or seek out proper care accordingly.
Weight Gain During IVF Injections
The hormones injected during IVF impact your weight and hunger. Thus, you might gain a bit of weight during the IVF process. However, IVF weight gain is nothing to panic about, especially if pregnancy is potentially on the horizon.
Allergic Reaction to IVF Injections
Although it’s uncommon, some women may have an allergic reaction to the injections. This often involves itchiness or redness at the site of injection.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHHS) is an infrequent complication that can occur due to ovarian stimulation during the IVF process. OHHS is when the ovaries swell, leaking fluid into the abdomen. This is very rare. However, it’s important to be aware of, since this condition can develop into a serious medical situation that requires hospitalization.
Egg Retrieval Side Effects
Egg retrieval is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure done to remove the matured and developed egg(s) from a woman’s ovaries during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Typically, there may be a few temporary side effects from the procedure, which are outlined below.
Cramping After Egg Retrieval
IVF cramping is a common side effect after egg retrieval. Usually, many women report this as mild to moderate cramping. This happens because the ovaries become swollen after egg retrieval. Yet, this swelling and cramping should subside within 5-7 days.
During this phase of IVF, you are still taking hormones in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. This can lead to breast tenderness that mimics what many women feel during PMS. To help with this, many women take over-the-counter pain medications and avoid wearing constricting bras or tops.
Nausea After Egg Retrieval
Depending on the medications recommended in your fertility plan, certain drugs may make you feel nauseous after the egg retrieval process. This is a less common side effect but it can happen. Usually, it isn’t anything to worry about. If you experience vomiting or other severe symptoms, seek out medical help or get in touch with your doctor.
Bloating After Egg Retrieval
For the same reason cramping occurs after egg retrieval and during IVF, bloating may happen as well. The ovaries have become enlarged through this process, and it usually takes about a week for them to go down. If this bloating continues after a week or 10 days, get in touch with your doctor.
Constipation After Egg Retrieval
Constipation is one of the most common side effects that many women experience after egg retrieval. To combat this, many women take stool softeners. Staying properly hydrated can also help relieve constipation caused by IVF.
Fatigue After Egg Retrieval
Fatigue is another common side effect. This may happen due to the anesthesia used during this process. Usually, it is recommended to rest afterward, if possible.
Infections are very rare side effects after egg retrieval. Yet, they can happen when the needle collecting the eggs spreads bacteria from the vagina or bowel to the abdomen.
Embryo Transfer Side Effects
An embryo transfer is the last part of the IVF process and takes place 2-5 days after your egg retrieval. During this time, the patient is usually prescribed progesterone to prepare her body and uterus for pregnancy. However, there are a few side effects that can happen due to the embryo transfer process and the hormones taken during this phase of IVF.
Cramping After Embryo Transfer
Cramping after an embryo transfer is a very normal response. This typically happens within the days after. It can also be a sign of your period is about to start or that pregnancy has occurred.
Breast tenderness may be due to progesterone. However, it can also happen because the embryo transfer has been successful. During this time, it may help to take over-the-counter pain medications or to wear loose bras or shirts to avoid pressure on the breasts.
Bloating After Embryo Transfer
Bloating is typical due to excess progesterone in your system. Progesterone often slows down your digestive tract, which may cause you to bloat.
Fatigue After Embryo Transfer
IVF fatigue may result after an embryo transfer. This may be a side effect of a successful transfer or due to the fertility drugs taken during this time.
Bruising and Soreness from IVF Injections
After IVF injections, bruising is normal. This area can also feel sore and a bit painful to touch. It’s important to try to have different injection sites to reduce this side effect.
Headaches After Embryo Transfer
Headaches are usually most common in women who experience migraines or headaches at certain parts of their menstrual cycle. However, the surge in hormones can also cause headaches to occur.
At ELITE IVF, our caring and passionate team is here to help you create the family you’ve always dreamed of. If you have any questions regarding the IVF process, we’re more than happy to help. Contact us today for more information.