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Women undergoing IVF 40 percent More likely to have pregnancy complications: Study

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Women undergoing IVF 40 percent More likely to have pregnancy complications: Study

New Delhi: Woman who receives infertility treatment in the form of in- vitro fertilization (IVF) are as high as 40 percent more likely to have severe pregnancy complications, in the form of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), ICU admission and sepsis, a new Canadian Study has pointed out.  This higher risk was seen among recipients of in vitro fertilization, but not among recipients of other forms of infertility treatment, such as intrauterine insemination or ovulation induction with medication.

In present days, millions of couples are dealing with infertility issues which lead to severe mental and physical distress among couples. Although, the problem is not gendered specific yet women are easy prey to infertility due to an increased rate of diabetes, repeated use of contraceptive pills and other lifestyle factors such as, increasing marital age, alcohol consumption and obesity.

According to a new media report around 10-15 % married couples in India face infertility, with much higher numbers in urban areas. In the era of medical. advancement, many couples go for infertility treatment including IVF, intrauterine insemination or ovulation induction with medication.

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A study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) revealed that Women who went IVF are more likely to encounter pregnancy complications in future.

The complications include severe postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby) which if not treated on time may lead to admission to the intensive care unit and sepsis. The complications are often sudden and difficult to diagnose. Identification of such complications is critical to avert worse events in near future.

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“This is evident from the study women who received infertility treatment, especially in vitro fertilization, were about 40% more likely to experience a severe pregnancy complication compared with women who gave birth without any treatment”- says lead author Dr. Natalie Dayan, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Quebec.

Researchers looked at data on 813 719 live births and stillbirths in Ontario hospitals between 2006 and 2012. They identified 11 546 women who conceived through infertility treatment and matched them with 47 553 women with similar characteristics who conceived without assistance. The women who conceive with infertility treatment are typically older, report higher incomes, are more often first-time mothers and carry multiple fetuses.

The study witnessed severe morbidity in 30.8 per 1000 infertility-treated pregnancies and in 22.2 per 1000 untreated pregnancies. This higher risk was seen among recipients of in vitro fertilization, but not among recipients of other forms of infertility treatment, such as intrauterine insemination or ovulation induction with medication.

The study revealed the age difference between women with infertility treatment is much higher than women who conceived without any IVF or other measures. Like many other studies conducted prior to this, current study also indicates that maternal age greater than 40 years and being pregnant with twins or triplets are each linked with a higher rate of these pregnancy related complications.

The authors note that “[w]hether specific components of treatment using in vitro fertilization, such as the dose of ovarian hyperstimulation or fresh versus frozen embryo transfer, worsen maternal health, or whether the increased risk is a reflection of those who require or choose in vitro fertilization, remains to be determined.”

However, the present study does suggest a small added risk from the treatment itself.

“However, it is important to remember that the absolute number of women who develop these complications remains quite small, meaning that for most women who cannot conceive naturally, this treatment is a very safe and effective method of becoming pregnant and having a child.”- the authors add.

You can read the full study by clicking on the following link

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.181124

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