Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Thursday, 30 June 2005 18:12 UK

'IVF treatment killed my daughter'

Image of Angela Hickey
Angela's daughter died from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

At 29, Jackie Rushton was happily married, and she and her husband decided they wanted to start a family.

But after two years of trying with no success, they decided to seek help and opted for IVF.

Tragically, Jackie died from a rare but serious complication of the treatment.

Her mother, Angela Hickey, is worried that many more women may unknowingly be putting their lives at risk.

She was very bloated and she could hardly walk. But she just thought it was part of the treatment
Angela Hickey

"I had never heard of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). It happens when the ovaries are overstimulated," said Angela.

Women undergoing IVF treatment are given hormone injections to make their ovaries produce more eggs than normal, which can then be harvested, fertilised in the lab and transplanted into the womb.

However, rarely, things can go wrong.

Angela said: "On the seventh day of her treatment she was showing signs of overstimulation already.

"She was very bloated and she could hardly walk. She was very sore. But she just thought it was part of the treatment and that it would be worth it to have a baby.

"She longed for a baby."

Hyperstimulation

But doctors then noticed Jackie had higher than expected hormonal levels - a warning that OHSS was developing.

However, it was decided that treatment should go ahead and doctors were able to collect 33 eggs - far more than the numbers normally harvested after this treatment.

Angela said: "After that she was very sick. From then on, every day she got worse. The fluid pushed up into her lungs.

"I got a dreadful fright when I saw her. She looked so frail, like a wax doll in the bed."

Jackie's lungs became too weak and she died.

Angela said she doubted whether many women considering IVF fully understood the risks associated with the procedure.

"Jackie was given a booklet that mentioned OHSS but she thought it was so rare that she did not take much notice of it.

"Some people do not have any problems and a percentage are very successful and have babies. But I would not want this to happen to anyone else," she said.



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