Side effects of PMA

Spermatozoïde injecté dans un ovocyte par FIV-ISCI

“Great fatigue ”, “strained uterus ”, “brown discharge ”, “hot flashes”. This is what we can read on the experience sharing forums dedicated to IVF , in vitro fertilization , one of the medically assisted procreation techniques. Unsavory and sometimes crude expressions, but which well describe the daily reality of women engaged in an assisted reproduction process . Regardless of the protocol followed, the hormonal treatments administered throughout the process often cause side effects . Return to this article on what we call PMA and its consequences on the female body .

What is medically assisted procreation?

What is medically assisted procreation?

Medically assisted procreation, or PMA, is a medical procedure implemented to help individuals wishing to be parents to conceive a child when this proves difficult or impossible naturally. In France, the practice of PMA is regulated by the law of August 2, 2021 relating to bioethics. In accordance with this text, the PMA is today open:

  • heterosexual couples with fertility problems or at risk of transmitting a serious genetic disease to their descendants;
  • to homosexual couples made up of two women;
  • to single women.

Different PMA techniques

Several medical techniques make it possible to achieve a pregnancy when it cannot occur naturally. The main ones are artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

Artificial insemination

Artificial or intrauterine insemination (IUI) consists of:

  • collect sperm from the spouse or an anonymous donor;
  • select the highest quality spermatozoa in the laboratory;
  • deposit the selected sperm into the woman's uterus at the appropriate time of ovulation.

Fertilization can then take place naturally inside the female genital tract.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

As its name suggests, in vitro fertilization corresponds to fertilization taking place outside the female body. It involves creating embryos in the laboratory. To do this, oocytes (female reproductive cells) and sperm are collected respectively from the woman – or a donor – and the partner – or a donor. When these gametes are brought into contact in a culture medium without further manipulation so that fertilization occurs by itself, we speak of conventional IVF. If a single sperm is chosen, isolated and injected into one of the oocytes, in such a way that fertilization is forced, it is called IVF-ICSI for IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Once fertilized by sperm, the eggs develop into embryos for a few days and then a certain number of them (from 1 to 3) are selected to be transferred into the uterine cavity of the future mother.

For one or other of these techniques to be successful, the woman involved in the PMA course must receive different treatments which are the cause of certain side effects.

PMA: side effects of hormonal treatments

Different hormonal treatments are administered during the medically assisted procreation process, during the stages known as ovarian stimulation and endometrial preparation. They can cause more or less annoying and serious physical problems in women who take them.

Side effects of ovarian stimulation

Ovarian stimulation prescribed as part of a PMA is the first phase of the process. It consists of injecting subcutaneously or orally different types and doses of female sex hormones according to a very specific protocol. This allows to :

  • promote the simultaneous maturation of several oocytes in the ovaries;
  • program the triggering of ovulation;
  • deposit the prepared spermatozoa into the uterus at the right time in the case of artificial insemination;
  • collect the greatest number of oocytes capable of being fertilized during ovarian puncture as part of IVF.

The effects – not serious when mild – most commonly observed following ovarian stimulation are as follows:

  • appearance of bruising at the injection site;
  • fatigue ;
  • bleeding;
  • headache ;
  • hot flashes;
  • tension in the breasts;
  • abdominal pain ;
  • bloating, nausea or vomiting;
  • diarrhea.

If some of these symptoms worsen, and are accompanied in particular by rapid weight gain, an increase in the size of the abdomen or difficulty breathing, it may be ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome ( SHO). This is one of the possible complications of ovarian stimulation which can be very serious. It is then necessary to consult urgently.

Side effects of endometrial preparation

Endometrial preparation occurs at the end of the process, after the stage of depositing sperm in the uterus for artificial insemination or that of embryo transfer during IVF. This consists of stimulating the development of the uterine lining so that it has all the characteristics necessary for the attachment and growth of the embryo within it. Treatment usually comes in the form of progesterone capsules to be inserted into the vagina.

The effects induced by this treatment are similar to those following ovarian stimulation. To these latter are very often added vaginal discharge, which materializes in the panties in the form of more or less solid and compact whitish residue.

Knowing the side effects of PMA is essential to prepare well for it. To collect and absorb all the vaginal discharge caused by the different hormonal treatments, why not opt ​​for menstrual panties or menstrual shorties ? This type of lingerie will help you in a safe and discreet way. One less worry to deal with during this often complicated period!

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Written by cd