Health Outcomes for Fertile and Sub-Fertile Mothers and Their Offspring

Mother and BabyOctober 19 , 2015
by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM 2015 Annual Meeting Press Release

Baltimore, MD – Research presented today at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) used health outcomes and vital records data to examine the impact of mothers’ health and mode of conception on children.

In the first study, investigators used data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinical Outcomes Reporting System (SART CORS), and vital records and hospital discharge data from Massachusetts to compare rates of pregnancy and birth outcomes among three groups of women: fertile women, women with indicators of subfertility who had not received medical treatment, and women who had undergone Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments. All in all, nearly 500,000 pregnancies were examined. The team found that both women who had used ART, and subfertile women who had not gotten treatment, had higher rates of complications than fertile women.

A related study linking outcomes from SART CORS with birth records in a dozen states compared birth weight and length of gestation in women who had undergone ART treatments for one of their children, but had other children conceived naturally. More than 8,000 sibling pairs were analyzed, and the study found only very small differences in birth weight and length of gestation, regardless of method of conception. Indeed, it appears factors affecting the mother, not how her child was conceived, were more important.

“These outcome studies help clarify the role of infertility treatment in our understanding of maternal and child health. These data seem to provide further evidence that the condition of subfertility, and not its treatment, is the most important factor in determining the health of a child,” said James Toner, MD, PhD, President of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

O-37, B. Luke et al, “Maternal Pregnancy and Birth Complications by Fertility Status: The Massachusetts Outcomes Study of Assisted Reproductive Technologies”

O-241, B. Luke et al, “Perinatal Outcomes With and Without ART: A Population-Based Study of Linked Siblings in 12 States”

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