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Woman dies from rare IVF side effect

18 April 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 304

A woman who was undergoing fertility treatment in the UK has died, a few days after she began the IVF process. Temilola Akinbolagbe, who was 33 years old, is understood to be the first woman to die as a result of the treatment in the UK. Only three other women, it is believed, have died from the same condition since IVF treatment began in 1978.

Mrs Akinbolagbe was killed by a blood clot that developed as a result of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), caused by an unusual reaction to the fertility drugs she had been given. On 12 November last year, her ovaries went into 'overdrive' and she collapsed in pain at a bus stop near her home in Plumstead, South London. The clot later caused a massive heart attack, from which she eventually died.

Dr John Parsons, the King's College Hospital fertility specialist who was treating Mrs Akinbolagbe, explained that 'the chances of something disastrous happening, like this, is very rare indeed'. According to the BBC, the potentially fatal form of OHSS occurs in about one per cent of women undergoing IVF, although a less severe form is more common. Clare Brown, chief executive of Infertility Network UK, said 'although ovarian hyperstimulation is rare, it is nonetheless a risk which patients should receive detailed information on before embarking on treatment'.

IVF, although a commonly-used fertility procedure, 'still carries risks, like all medical treatments', warned Angela McNab, chief executive of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates fertility treatment provision in the UK. She said 'we will be continuing to remind clinics of their duty to ensure that side-effects of treatments are properly managed and that patients are properly informed and know what to do if they start to feel unwell during their treatment'.

UK death linked to IVF treatment
Lifesite News |  14 April 2005
UK woman killed by rare IVF risk
BBC News Online |  13 April 2005
Wife killed by IVF treatment
The Daily Mail |  13 April 2005
29 October 2012 - by Maria Sheppard 
A man is suing Barts and the London NHS Trust after his wife died from a rare complication while undergoing IVF treatment, reports the Mirror....
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A report on the circumstances surrounding the 2003 death of Irish IVF patient Jacqueline Rushton has been published. The report was commissioned by the Republic of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), and written by Alison Murdoch of the Newcastle Fertility Centre and independent healthcare consultant Stuart Emslie...
14 August 2006 - by Laura Goodall 
A British woman who had undergone a standard IVF procedure at the Leicester Royal Infirmary has died unexpectedly while undergoing another medical procedure. A coroner and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is currently investigating the cause of death. During the egg collection operation for IVF...
1 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A UK woman left brain-damaged after a stroke caused by a rare side effect of IVF treatment is set to receive 'very substantial' agreed damages. The 34-year-old patient, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, became pregnant but then developed ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Fertility doctor Paul Rainsbury, of...
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