IVF Pregnancies Linked to Higher Blood Clots, Artery Blockage Risks

    January 17, 2013
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

A new study has associated in vitro fertilization (IVF) with an increased risk for blood clots and pulmonary embolism (PE) in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is in addition to the already higher risk of blood clots seen during a normal pregnancy, which affected about one out of every 1,000 pregnancies in the early 90s.

IVF has been used since 1978 to help infertile couples conceive. Since that time, approximately five million people have been born using IVF.

The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, looked at 23,498 women undergoing an IVF pregnancy and compared them to 116,960 women undergoing a normal pregnancy. Researchers found that 4.2 out of every 1,000 women in IVF pregnancies were diagnosed with blood clots, while only 2.5 in every 1,000 of the other women were. Though the risks were greater in the first trimester of pregnancy, there was no difference in risk between the groups of women either before pregnancy or during the year after pregnancy.

The researchers also found that the risks of PE were also higher for women in IVF pregnancies throughout their entire pregnancy. Though the overall risk for PE is low, it is the leading cause of maternal death and researchers stated that it is hard to diagnose.

The results of the study were controlled for a number of factors, including age, year of delivery, body mass index, smoking, birth country, and education. Researchers stated that the increased risks found in the study should help doctors focus on identifying women who are at greater risk.

  • Linda Chudej

    It’s disturbing to know that couples will risk the woman’s life to have a baby and that the couple will put the baby’s life at risk for multiple birth defects just to satisfy their selfish need. If they believe in God did they ever stop to thing there’s a reason they aren’t “blessed” with a baby? If they don’t believe in God did they ever stop to think there’s a reason they can’t conceive? Some thing are better left alone.

    • Frances

      Linda: If you want to call me selfish for putting myself through fertility treatment and endangering my babies you can go right ahead and do it. The purpose of fertility treatment is to help couples who want families or to extend their families when it becomes difficult to conceive a child of their own. I tested positive for Protein C Deficiency and MTHFR shortly after my second round of IUI treatment in March 2012. The IUI was successful and I have two twin boys out of it. They were born eight weeks early and were in the NICU because the placenta to the second baby stopped supporting him because of my blood clotting disorder and abnormal natural killer cells were attacking the baby and treating it as if it were a cancer. From week 17 on I was watched like a hawk and ended up spending the last week of the pregnancy in the hospital being constantly monitored. The only reason I was tested for blood clotting disorder because when I was about to be tested for why I couldn’t conceive I mentioned to the doctor that my father was hospitalized for a pulumonary embolism because of a blood clot 19 years before. If I had not mentioned this fact and gone through the testing and fertility treatment I probably would have ended up miscarrying my babies and would not have known what was wrong until then and then I would have been tested for the blood clotting disorder. Whether my babies will be okay in the world I don’t know but at least the doctors were there with me all the way to ensure that there was no tragedy.

    • Cajun

      It’s all about you! As it is with ALL IVFers. “I want a baaaaybee.” Children are gifts from God, not commodities that you create, freeze and destroy in a lab.

  • Trina

    I am a mom of three who needed several rounds of IVF to achieve my second pregnancy (twin girls) and I’m responding to Linda’s statements and questions above:

    > “It’s disturbing to know that couples will risk the woman’s life to have a baby and that the couple will put the baby’s life at risk for multiple birth defects” – My response is that giving birth to my son, who was conceived naturally, was also a risk to his health and mine. I went over 42 weeks into my pregnancy with him, had to be induced and required an emergency c-section after 4 hours of labor. During that time, my baby went into distress for various reasons, including having the cord wrapped around his neck (he’s now perfectly healthy, thank goodness), and I was at high risk for infection.

    By comparison, my IVF daughters were delivered in 20 minutes after an uneventful pregnancy and never spent a minute in NICU. Both my son’s life and mine were at higher risk during pregnancy and birth than my IVF-related experience.

    Note also that many studies have not found an increased risk between IVF and birth defects.

    > “If they believe in God did they ever stop to thing there’s a reason they aren’t “blessed” with a baby?” Actually, I had easily conceived my son just a few years before beginning the IVF process with my daughters. So, apparently, God didn’t have a problem with me being a parent!

    > “If they don’t believe in God did they ever stop to think there’s a reason they can’t conceive?” Yes, I did wonder what had changed between my son and my struggles to get and stay pregnant afterward. That’s why I sought help from doctors who couldn’t agree on a single cause of the problem. Together, we worked to identify solutions and lucky for us, a specific combination of drugs and treatment worked.

    > “Some things are better left alone.” I wonder whether Linda has ever felt that ache of feeling as if your family is incomplete. I remember having a friend with 4 children reveal to me how devastated she felt at the loss of a 5th pregnancy. That was hard for me to understand…until I was questioned about why it was so important for me to have a second child that I would invest the time and money it takes to have fertility treatment. It’s not up to us to judge another person’s longing for a certain number of kids – that’s for each of us to decide for ourselves. All I knew was that my family, with one child, did not yet feel complete.

    I’m so glad my daughters, now age 6, are a part of my life. They’re happy and healthy and contribute so much to our family – not just me, but our son as well, who loves having siblings. Each day when I look at them I think about how worthwhile the effort was, medically assisted or not. How could someone call that “selfish?”

  • http://facebook ruhi ansar

    “Is it possible to be pregnant even after heavy bleeding after 5th week post embryo transfer? i have done my first ivf but after 5th week of embryo transfer i got heavy bleeding can i be pregnant?”