Infertility and Adverse Perinatal Outcome
Adapted from Heightened Risks Identified for Births to Infertile Women Conceiving without Assisted Reproductive Technology
A new birth outcomes study published in Fertility and Sterility compared birth outcomes associated with infertility (Infertile births), birth outcomes associated with infertility treated with ART- Assisted Reproductive Technology (In Vitro Fertilization and related treatments), and birth to mothers without infertility (Fertile birth).
The researchers found that outcomes for ART and Infertile births were generally more similar to one another than to Fertile births. However, the risk for stillbirth or perinatal death (death in the first week of life) was significantly lower among ART births than Infertile births.
The Massachusetts Outcomes Study of Assisted Reproductive Technologies study examined 334,628 births and fetal deaths which took place in Massachusetts from July 2004 through December 2008. Births and fetal deaths were categorized into three groups: ART, Infertile or Fertile.
Four outcome measures were evaluated for singletons and twins born in each group: preterm birth, low birthweight, small for gestational age, and perinatal death.
For singletons born to the ART or Infertile group, the risks of preterm birth and low birthweight were higher than those risks in the Fertile group. Singletons born to the Fertile and ART groups had the same risk of perinatal death, while singletons born to the Infertile group had one and a half times the risk of perinatal death.
Twins born to the ART group fared well on a couple of counts in comparison to twins born to the other groups. They were less likely than Infertile group twins to suffer perinatal death, and they were less likely than both Fertile and Infertile group twins to be born pre-term. Infertile group twins seemed to be the most vulnerable to risks, with a greater likelihood of both preterm birth and perinatal death. Twins in the Fertile birth group were more likely than Infertile or ART group twins to be small for gestational age.