Fertility Infertility Issues

 Fertility treatments have several advantages as well as disadvantages. These are as follows.
The benefits include:
· The primary benefit is that this technique allows couples that are infertile to have children.
· The embryos can be stored, thus allowing their use at a later date. This can be very advantageous in certain situations, for example a woman who must undergo radiation treatment of her ovaries, before she has had her children.
· Fertility treatments actually produce excess embryos that are used for research in laboratories across the world, including stem cell research. For those opposed to the latter, you will be comforted to know that this week, scientists have revealed plans to develop a variation of these techniques in which a single cell is removed from the embryo and used to produce stem cells, thereby preserving the embryo. Stem cell research is thought to have the potential to produce cures for several diseases including Parkinson’s disease.
The risks include:
· The procedure can cause some discomfort as the eggs are harvested and re-implanted.
· An increased risk of multiple pregnancies has been found. This leads to higher rates of complications throughout the pregnancy and at delivery.
· There is also an increased risk that the embryo will implant outside of the uterus. This condition is called an ectopic pregnancy, which usually requires surgical removal.
· Surgery carries several risks including infection, bleeding and internal damage. However, these are fairly small risks in experienced hands.
· The procedure leads to an increased risk of low birth weight.
· Similarly there is an increased risk of premature babies. This decreases the survival rates and increases the chance of certain problems like growth issues.
· There is also an increased risk of birth defects.
· The drugs used for stimulating ovulation have side effects. One particularly serious side effect is abnormal blood clotting that can occur when the ovaries are over stimulated. This can lead to clotting within the lungs, which is potentially fatal.
· Some studies suggest a link with ovarian cancer, but the association is considered to be controversial.
The risks appear to overwhelmingly out way the benefits. However, for infertile couples this is a very important option. As with any medical procedure the key is to weigh the benefits versus risks for the particular case.

References
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/HEALTH/parenting/03/06/test.tube.babies/index.html
http://www.marchofdimes.com/aboutus/10651_14302.asp
http://www.fertilityjourney.com/therapyoptions/assistedreproduction/ivf/benefitsandrisks/index.asp?svarqvp2=0

Yours for Health