How common is miscarriage after IVF?

In most cases, miscarriage after in vitro fertilization (IVF) is only slightly higher than in a normally conceived pregnancy. Many times, the additional risk comes from physical abnormalities in the mother that led to the infertility to begin with. These can usually be repaired or relieved, although they can sometimes lead to miscarriage, depending on the problem. For the most part, miscarriage after IVF is the 10 to 20 percent experienced by any other pregnant woman.

The cause of miscarriage after IVF is very similar to any other pregnancy loss. Most miscarriages are thought to be due to chromosomal abnormalities in the developing baby, with some caused by external forces such as uterine malfunction, placental abnormalities, or hormonal problems in the mother. Occasionally, a miscarriage will occur due to something the mother consumes.

One of the main differences between normal pregnancy loss and a miscarriage after IVF is that it is more difficult for many mothers to emotionally lose a pregnancy after years of infertility. IVF treatments are usually reserved as a last resort, after all other pregnancy methods have failed, because it is very expensive and carries a higher risk of pregnancy and multiple complications. Success is less than 50 percent, so losing a pregnancy that may occur can be a devastating loss.

The loss caused by miscarriage after IVF can be doubly devastating if the couple cannot afford additional treatments or if additional treatments are not recommended. Sometimes, if the mothers body is to blame for a recurring loss, she can begin to blame herself and feel a sense of worthlessness for not being able to carry a baby to term. This is not true, of course, but the inability to get pregnant can have a tremendous impact on a woman's self-esteem.

The therapy is recommended for many people who experience a miscarriage after IVF before trying another pregnancy. Even if she does not receive professional advice, any mother who has experienced a miscarriage should wait until she is emotionally ready to try for another baby. Miscarriages are a loss and should be grieved like any other.

In most cases, miscarriage after IVF is unrelated to future pregnancies unless a specific abnormality in the mother's hormones or anatomy is discovered. There is often no increased risk of pregnancy loss until two or more consecutive losses have occurred. If this happens, genetic testing and counseling may be recommended.

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