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Ectopic pregnancy after IVF

7.12.2021 · 2 min reading
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In order for a pregnancy to progress successfully from two lines on a pregnancy test to delivery, a woman's body must fulfil several important tasks, one of which is the fertilised egg implanting in the uterus. Unfortunately, this is not always the case... In these cases women may experience an ectopic pregnancy. How can you recognize it and what are the risks?

In ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised egg does not implant in the uterus, but in other parts of the female body – most often in the fallopian tubes, abdomen or cervical canal. Although this serious complication can be treated today, it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect ectopic pregnancy, as the growing foetus can cause the fallopian tube to rupture, infection or internal bleeding, which can seriously endanger a woman’s life. How can you tell something isn’t right?

If you have the following symptoms, visit a doctor immediately

At first, the symptoms may look like classic symptoms of pregnancy – however, after a positive pregnancy test and missed periods, the woman begins to suffer from vaginal bleeding, sharp stabbing abdominal pain, pain on one side of the body, dizziness, pain or fainting. The greatest risk is the rupture of the fallopian tubes and internal bleeding, but with the timely intervention of doctors, this will not endanger the woman’s life or prevent her from conceiving in the future.

Is there a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy with IVF?

Statistics say that ectopic pregnancies are most common in women who are pregnant for the first time, as well as those who have had an intrauterine device or used hormonal contraception. Women also have a low risk of ectopic pregnancy (2%) after IVF, but it is much higher in women who have suffered from recurrent inflammation and have partially damaged fallopian tubes. Smoking and endometriosis are also risk factors.

What happens next?

Unfortunately, there is no way to save a foetus implanted outside the uterus after confirmation of an ectopic pregnancy – the most important thing is to save the woman; depending on her symptoms, length of pregnancy and the location of the foetus, the doctor determines how the foetus will be removed, either with medication, laparoscopically or laparotomically (surgical opening of the abdominal cavity). What procedure the doctors choose also depends on whether the fallopian tube has ruptured and whether there is heavy bleeding. In rare cases the fallopian tube can be saved, but in many cases it must be removed along with the ovary.

Emotions you need to experience

Even if the pregnancy only lasted for a short time, its loss is psychologically challenging and depressing. Psychologists recommend that you take the time to mourn, talk about what is bothering you, and experience the loss to the fullest. Be with your partner or loved ones in this difficult time, and don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. And most importantly, remember that you will get more chances, because…

Ectopic pregnancy is not the end

Many women who have experienced an ectopic pregnancy will eventually go on to having their dream baby, despite the fact that the risk of another failure is higher in these cases. However, it is important to have a doctor who will not only closely monitor the course of your treatment, but will also recommend the best time for the next IVF cycle based on his observations.

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