Though death from in vitro fertilization is rare, those considering the procedure should be aware of the risks it poses, especially for people with certain medical histories or in certain age groups, according to an editorial in the British Medical Journal.
Women who have underlying diseases, are carrying multiple children or are advanced in age can face serious complications during pregnancy, the journal says. These complications, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or pre-eclampsia could potentially result in death, according to BMJ.
In addition, the editorial reports that a recent study of women in the Netherlands showed that more maternal deaths occurred in women who were impregnated using IVF than from those who conceived children naturally, showing 42 and 12 deaths per 100,000 childbirths, respectively.
Lead researcher Dr. Susan Bewlly recommends that these warnings be published so that women are aware of the risks they take when deciding to undergo IVF. "More stringent attention to stimulation regimens, pre-conceptual care, and pregnancy management is needed so that maternal death and severe morbidity do not worsen further," the BMJ editorial concludes.
The possibility of maternal death is a serious concern, and women should consider term-life insurance during their child-bearing years to provide for their families should they suffer fatal complications during childbirth.