The risks of IVF

At GCRM-BELFAST we take a responsible attitude to the risks associated with infertility treatment and wish to minimise these for your safety and that of resulting pregnancies. The two most common problems are ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and multiple pregnancy.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

This is due to the ovaries being over-stimulated by the infertility drugs. We minimise the risk by ensuring all women have an initial "Ovarian assessment" (an AMH blood test and a scan of the ovaries). Every woman has a different ovarian reserve and the ovarian assessment allows us to tailor the treatment cycle to that individual making the stimulation process more precise and safer.

Multiple pregnancy

It comes as a surprise to many to learn that twin pregnancies are a problem. Multiple pregnancies following IVF or ICSI are the most important problem facing patients. The stark facts show increases in maternal problems both during and after pregnancy, and also increased problems for the children. The main problems are miscarriage, high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), premature labour and increased chances of an operative delivery. The risks to the children and their development are also much increased (for further information please click here). We strongly advise women who are at particular risk of multiple pregnancy to think in terms of having one embryo replaced at a time (eSET, elective single embryo transfer).

Identification of those at risk

At GCRM-BELFAST, women under 39 years with a reasonable AMH level and with at least one other embryo that is suitable for freezing (vitrification), would be expected to have a twin pregnancy rate of approximately 30% after a two embryo transfer. As such, we strongly recommend patients in this category to have elective single embryo transfer. You will be advised and supported by all staff throughout your decision making but for more information see