Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Researcher say IVF for single women showing poor outcomes
A story released today by Reuters Health reports that Dutch researchers have found that single women having pregnancies through assisted conception such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) have worse outcomes than those achieved without assistance.
Most attention on poor pregnancy outcomes after assisted reproduction have focused on multiple pregnancies, say Dr. Frans Helmerhorst from University Medical Center Leiden, and colleagues. There is some evidence dating back to 1985 that this affects singleton pregnancies, too, but the data have been mixed.
In an effort to help resolve this, they reviewed 25 studies on birth outcomes after assisted conception.
In the British Medical Journal, they report that in studies with matched controls, babies born after assisted conception were three times more likely to be born very preterm (before 32 weeks), and twice as likely to be preterm (less than 37 weeks).
Children born after assisted conception were also more likely to be delivered via caesarian and to require intensive care after birth. Those children were also 68 percent more likely to die around the time of birth
"We need to try to understand what's happening with birth-weight and gestational age, and we know that something in assisted conception is affecting it," Helmerhorst said.
Based on these results, the emphasis of assisted reproduction should shift further than it already has away from simply achieving a pregnancy to achieving a successful outcome, he told Reuters Health.
"The 'take-home baby rate' is very important...and we need to consider the quality of the 'product' we're delivering," Helmerhorst said. "In this case, the product is a health baby, not just a baby or a pregnancy."