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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Fertility Treatments Raise Mothers’ Risks of Health Problems in Delivery

Women who conceived babies using in vitro fertilization or assisted reproductive technology (ART) were two to three times as likely as women who did not use ART to suffer serious health complications during delivery, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology used Massachusetts birth and hospitalization data from 2004 to 2010 to compare health outcomes during delivery for women who had conceived using ART with those of women who were fertile or sub-fertile and did not use ART.

Researchers found that the overall prevalence of severe maternal morbidity — defined as potentially life-threatening conditions, largely indicated by the need for blood transfusions during delivery — was 3.14 percent among mothers who used ART, compared to 1.09 percent among fertile women and 1.44 percent among sub-fertile women.

The analysis, led by Dr. Candice Belanoff, clinical assistant professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, said further study is needed to understand why women who had ART might have elevated risks of morbidity. The study controlled for age, education, race, ethnicity, and other factors that might affect mothers’ health outcomes.

To read more about the study, go to: