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Melbourne IVF clinics under-reporting potentially deadly complications 

3AW Breakfast

Melbourne fertility clinics are under-reporting rates of dangerous complications associated with treatment, according to a Herald Sun investigation.

Dozens of Melbourne women have suffered from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a potentially fatal IVF complication.

Dr Karin Hammarberg, Senior Research fellow at Monash University said the condition is a risk that cannot be completely avoided.

“It’s because of the stimulation of the ovaries, the hormones to produce eggs. Sometimes the response is just higher than you would expect or desire,” she told 3AW Breakfast.

“There’s no way you can do fertility treatment without stimulating the ovaries.”

The symptoms of the condition usually appear about a week after treatment, and include rapid weight gain, severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and blood clots.

Dr Hammarberg said the severity of the condition varies, and under-reporting may be the result of a lack of industry regulation on how severe the condition must be before being reported.

She called for a centralised database for the condition.

“Then we could learn from all the cases that appear and become more knowledgeable about when it happens and why it happens,” she said.

“We have to remind ourselves that it is a dangerous business to be a woman.”

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