IVF linked to slightly higher risk of maternal complications: study

A new study suggests women who get pregnant using in-vitro fertilization appear to have a slightly higher risk of severe birth-related complications compared to women who conceive naturally.

Those complications include post-partum bleeding that may require a blood transfusion, admission to an intensive care unit, and, in extremely rare cases, death.

The study found that roughly 31 of every one-thousand women who received a fertility treatment experienced a severe complication, compared to about 22 per one-thousand who conceived naturally.

But the study's lead researcher says the absolute number of women who developed complications was very small, less than one per cent.

Dr. Natalie Dayan, from the McGill University Health Centre, says future studies should determine whether factors related to the women or something about IVF itself raises the risk of complications.

She says for the vast majority of women who cannot conceive naturally, IVF is a safe and effective method of becoming pregnant and having a child.

The study is published in this week's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

In Canada, one in six couples is affected by infertility, and many turn to assisted reproductive technology, resulting in about 18-thousand births each year.