Uterine health key to IVF success


A new study shows that the health of the uterus may be more important than the freshness of her eggs for a newborn to achieve normal birth weight and full gestation when conceived through IVF. Published in Fertility and Sterility journal, the study creates new criteria for selecting the method of IVF women consider.

While certainly there is no doubt that the ability to achieve a pregnancy is linked to egg/embryo quality, the study found that obstetrical outcomes of birth weight and length of pregnancy are impacted by the uterine environment.

"This is the first time that a study demonstrated that the health of a woman's uterus is a key determinant for a fetus to obtain normal birth weight and normal length of gestation," said said Dr. Gibbons. "While obvious issues of uterine fibroids or conditions that alter the shape of the uterus are suspected to affect pregnancy rates, conditions that result in poorer ovarian function to the point of needing donor eggs are not known. Further research is needed to fully understand this complex issue."

As more and more babies are born as a result of IVF, increasing attention is directed not just to pregnancy rates but also to the obstetrical outcomes. About one percent of US births come from assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF, donor eggs, ICSI, embryo cryopreservation, embryo donation, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and male infertility surgery and medical therapy.

Patients diagnosed with a uterine health issue, such as fibroids, had babies with the lowest obstetrical outcomes, birth weights and gestational ages. Researchers began to wonder what impact uterine environment had on these outcomes.

They found that women who had ovarian hyperstimulation which hyperstimulates the uterus as well had lower birth weight babies and shorter gestational periods. Women who used frozen eggs without hyperstimulation had better obstetrical outcomes. "That finding may help women seeking pregnancy and their physicians to consider frozen embryo transfer as a possible option if the uterine health is not a consideration," said Gibbons.

Source: Texas Children's Hospital, ScienceDaily


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