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New 'safer' IVF technique minimises the risk of OHSS

25th July 2014 in Treatments

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Researchers have made a breakthrough in IVF treatment for women at risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).

OHSS is a rare complication of IVF where the ovaries overreact to the fertility drugs needed to produce mature eggs.  Symptoms of OHSS can range from mild to severe and in some cases are life-threatening if left untreated.

But researchers have now found that the hormone kisspeptin – a naturally occurring hormone in the body - also causes ovulation but with a much lower risk of overstimulation.

Women in the trial in London had a single injection of kisspeptin, with 51 out of the 53 participants producing mature eggs, with 12 babies being born through the new method since 2013. Plans are now underway to conduct a trial involving women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), as they are at much higher risk of developing OHSS during IVF treatment.

In the meantime, how do we ensure your risk of OHSS is minimised when you come to us for your IVF treatment?

We can identify the vast majority of patients at risk prior to treatment,

from how you respond to the initial fertility drugs you are given. Using the most appropriate treatment protocol with the correct dosage of hormones can reduce the risk of OHSS significantly.

All our patients undergoing stimulation are carefully monitored and through regular blood tests and ultrasound scans, we can see exactly how your ovaries are reacting to the drugs you’re taking and if you may be at risk of OHSS.

This monitoring is one of the ways that we prevent OHSS from happening by either stopping treatment or adopting a different protocol if you have been identified as high-risk. 

As OHSS occurs once you’ve ovulated – so once you’ve had the final shot of hormones to release your mature eggs – we ensure you’re aware of the symptoms so you can report any of them to us straight away so we can manage it if needed. Early signs that you may be developing OHSS include abdominal bloating - a small degree of bloating is a common side-effect of ovarian stimulation however and isn’t serious unless it worsens - nausea or vomiting, breathlessness and dizziness.

If you’re worried about OHSS, please get in touch with us on 0161 300 2737.

Last updated: 24th July 2014