Does IVF treatment increase the risk of premature birth?

IVF treatment provides many possibilities to increase the chances of pregnancy. But of course, like all treatments, it comes with some risks. Understanding the risk of premature birth and learning ways to avoid this risk facilitates the safer progress of the IVF process.

Whether you got pregnant naturally or after IVF, your risk of giving birth prematurely will vary depending on a number of factors. Many factors such as where you live, number of babies during pregnancy, age, general health, weight, alcohol and tobacco use can affect the probability of premature birth.

Research confirms that conceiving with IVF carries a greater risk of premature birth, compared to having a baby born naturally or with other fertility treatments. For example, it is known that the probability of being born prematurely is 23% higher for twins conceived by in vitro fertilization treatment compared to twins grown by natural pregnancy. The risk of premature birth for singleton babies who are pregnant with IVF is about twice as high as the others.


What is the relationship between IVF and premature birth?

Experts do not yet fully understand why babies born with IVF are born earlier than other babies. Scientific research continues, but studies so far suggest that certain processes arising from the IVF procedure itself and maternal factors may also affect the risk of premature birth. Possible reasons can be listed as follows:

Hormonal reasons: In an IVF treatment using new embryos, women are given a super dose of hormone supplements to increase the number of eggs to be laid in the ovulation cycle. Some studies have shown that these hormone supplements can affect the way the embryo implants in the uterus.

Multiple embryos: Regardless of how they were conceived, twins or multiple babies are always more likely to be born prematurely than singleton babies. Depending on the treatment process and the mother’s conditions, placing more than one embryo from time to time is considered appropriate in terms of increasing the chance of pregnancy, and when multiple pregnancy occurs by implanting more than one embryo, the risk of premature birth increases.

Medical interventions: Pregnancies that occur with the in vitro fertilization method are monitored more carefully by both parents and doctors. Because these pregnancies are considered very valuable, less carefully monitored pregnancies may be more likely to give birth prematurely due to a not-too-negligible risk of complications.

Maternal factors: Factors that have caused decreased fertility may increase the risk of premature birth as a result of IVF. For example, being overweight, the presence of certain muscle diseases or advanced age are common factors that increase the risk of both infertility and premature birth.


What can be done to reduce the risk of premature birth?

Although IVF treatment is not a cause of premature birth in itself, it is indirectly associated with premature births. Although it is not possible to completely eliminate this risk, some measures can be taken to reduce it.

Take care of your general health. Eating well, exercising, not smoking and drinking alcohol are always essential for a healthier pregnancy. When you do what it takes to keep your body healthy, you also increase your chances of carrying your baby to a reasonable week.

It is important to evaluate options in the IVF treatment process, including single embryo transfer. Since the IVF process is a laborious and expensive process, sometimes placing two embryos may seem like the most logical option. Past research has shown that transferring multiple embryos instead of one significantly increases the risk of premature birth, but another study two years ago showed that elective (optional) single embryo transfer does not reduce, or even increases, the risk of premature birth.

Frozen embryos can also be considered in reducing the risk of premature birth. Some studies have shown that frozen embryos can yield better results than fresh embryos. Frozen embryos are implanted at a more favorable time in your cycle and weaker embryos may not survive freezing.

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