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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Underlying Subfertility May Affect ART Birth Outcomes

Birth outcomes for babies whose mothers used assisted reproductive technology (ART) are better in some cases, and worse in others, than for subfertile women who did not use ART, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Those findings, published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggest that underlying subfertility, distinct from the use of ART, may account for some of the elevated risks in birth outcomes attributed to the use of in vitro fertilization and other ART procedures.

Researchers found that the risks of preterm birth and low birth weight were higher for singletons (single babies) born to mothers who had ART than for those who had fertility problems but did not use ART. But the risks of perinatal death—stillbirths or deaths within one week of birth—were no higher for mothers with ART than for fertile women, while they were significantly higher for singletons born to subfertile mothers. And for twins, the risks of death among ART births were significantly lower than for either subfertile or fertile women.

“Overall, these (findings) suggest an underlying risk associated with subfertility, distinct from that which may result from ART,” the authors said.

The study is the first population-based U.S. comparison of birth outcomes for women who received fertility treatment and those with subfertile indicators who did not use ART. To read more about the study, go to: