A healthy 23-year-old woman died while undergoing a routine IVF fertility treatment after suffering the effects of a rare complication, with an autopsy revealing her ovaries had swollen to three times their normal size and fluid in her lungs.
The woman, who was not identified, was from Delhi, India, and already had a four-year-old daughter at the time of her death. She appeared to be completely healthy before the treatment, the New York Post reports.
Healthy 23-year-old woman’s heart stopped beating while undergoing procedure to collect eggs
However, her heart stopped beating while she underwent the procedure to collect her eggs and she could not be revived.
An autopsy found her death to be the result of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). The World Health Organization reports that the syndrome affects between 0.2 percent and 1 percent of all IVF patients, according to page six.
OHSS is a condition where patients experience an adverse reaction to fertility drugs used in IVF that are used to stimulate egg growth.
In a third of IVF patients, the treatment can cause the ovaries to overgrow, leading to short-term nausea, discomfort and swelling.
But in patients who experience OHSS, the condition causes blood to clot in the lungs or legs, leading to a fatal buildup of fluid in the lungs.
Autopsy report Published case reports of the woman’s death found no pre-existing conditions
In May, a report in the scientific journal Autopsy Case Reports published on the woman’s death found that she had no pre-existing conditions that would have put her at increased risk, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Having naturally conceived her first child, the woman began the IVF treatment process for a second child. She began ovarian stimulation to increase the number of eggs she produced, the Post reports.
She returned to the hospital after 11 days of this treatment to have her eggs collected, where doctors noted that her pulse and blood pressure were normal.
But after being sedated by doctors, her heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels suddenly and drastically dropped. An autopsy found her ovaries swollen to three times their normal size and found fluid in her lungs.
The report’s authors also found a steady increase in the number of patients undergoing IVF treatment in recent decades.
The death of a woman is a reminder of the risks related to fertility treatments, the reasons for the poor results are still unclear
Although the process is usually safe, the woman’s death is a reminder of the risks that the procedure still involves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 4 million births per year in the US, which means that 1 to 2 percent of all annual births in the US. They are for IVF.
In the past week, The Associated Press reported that there are black-white disparities in fertility medicine, which is reflected in life-or-death outcomes for babies, according to a large study of US births.
Study finds racial gap for women using in vitro fertilization treatments, higher mortality rates for babies born to black women
The study, published last Wednesday in the journal Pediatricsis the broadest look yet at racial gaps for women using in vitro fertilization, fertility drugs or other fertility treatments.
The researchers found higher mortality rates for babies born to black women who used such treatments than for white women who did the same, a gap that is much wider than in babies born without such treatments, according to the outlet.
Infant deaths are rare in the US and the reasons for poor outcomes are unclear. The researchers noted racial gaps even after adjusting for age, diabetes, obesity, smoking and other maternal risk factors.
Considering the high cost of IVF, the average cost of an IVF cycle is more than $12,000, and the paucity of insurance coverage means that women receiving fertility care are wealthier on average.
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