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“I was in excruciating pain, I was bloated and felt really sick. The doctor had said I’d be able to go about my normal business but I missed work, I couldn’t do anything and I had to stay in bed for six days.”

Carol*, 39, from London, is an IVF success story. On her second cycle, she became pregnant and she now has a joyful toddler. But during her first cycle, as well as the invasive trips to the doctors and grimacing through the daily self-administered progesterone injections, she developed what her doctors called a “borderline” ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS).

The symptoms Carol experienced are some of the many side-effects of OHSS, which can range from nausea and vomiting to severe bloating and blood clots. In the worst cases, OHSS can be fatal – according to government records, it has killed two British women in the past 15 years.

Statistics from the Human Embryology and Fertility Agency (HFEA), the fertility industry regulator that is required to record all incidences of OHSS, suggest a third of women undergoing IVF will... see more