Infertility is no longer the barrier that it was to conceiving and delivering a baby. The past two decades have seen incredible advances which allow couples to experience the wonders and joys of bearing their own children. However, with any new technology and medical procedure comes risks and benefits, and it is vital that doctors give informed consent to would-be parents about the risks and alternatives to any medical treatment.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
The most well-known fertility procedure is in vitro fertilization. Using this procedure, embryos are fertilized outside of the body and then implanted directly into the uterus. The donor material (sperm and egg) can be from mother, father, or any other donor.
A common risk of IVF treatment is multiple births. Doctors use their judgment, hopefully in agreement with the would-be parents, about how many embryos to implant. It is possible for each embryo to grow and become viable. Obviously, multiple implantations increases the chances of success for at least one baby. However, there are risks associated with multiple simultaneous pregnancies—both to mother and children. Doctors who do not adequately explain the risks are guilty of medical negligence.
Clomid and Ovulation Stimulation Medication
One of the least expensive procedures, and often the first stop for women who are having difficulty conceiving, is medication used to stimulate ovulation. Drugs like Clomid (clomiphene citrate) are used for this purpose.
One risk that doctors and their patients should be aware of is the danger of the drug to a developing child. A woman who takes the drug while pregnant runs the risk of birth defects, like cleft palate, anencephaly (a baby who develops without a brain), and heart defects problems. Doctors must take care to ensure that patients are not pregnant before prescribing this medication.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI has been found to be related to a 57% higher risk of birth defects. With ICSI, sperm is injected directly into the egg. This is most commonly used as a solution to male infertility. However, many of the studies on this procedure predate the modern techniques used—ICSI has changed much in the past ten or so years, so the risks are not as well known.
The ability to conceive a child after problems with fertility is a blessing, but that blessing should not be diminished by injuries to a child that were preventable. If your child was born with serious medical problems after infertility treatments, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.