Physical symptoms throughout IVF cycles

Hum Fertil (Camb). 2011 Jun;14(2):122-8. doi: 10.3109/14647273.2011.571748.


The physical impact of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is not well explored. The aim of this prospective controlled longitudinal study was to examine the impact of 11 symptoms during an entire long down regulation (LDR) cycle and to determine the effect of the mean recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (RecFSH) dose and ovarian responsiveness of patients and outcome had on reported symptoms. The severity of symptoms was measured using a daily questionnaire to determine a total summary score (TSS) for each symptom, a summary symptom score (SSS) based on all TSS and a mean daily severity for each symptom. Outcome was determined by beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (β-hCG) test result. 79.1% of women undertaking LDR IVF cycles had significant physical symptoms. Treatment symptom severity peaked at oocyte retrieval, with prominent symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain/cramps and fatigue. No relationship was found between outcome, RecFSH dose and ovarian responsiveness with reported symptoms. In conclusion, IVF places a real physical burden on women should be encouraged to reduce undertaking LDR cycles. The impact of the symptoms, particularly the increase in severity leading up to day of oocyte retrieval suggests that women may be warned to reduce stress and activities during this time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / adverse effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / adverse effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Ovulation Induction / adverse effects*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone