North­eastern Uni­ver­sity nursing pro­fessor Angela Nan­nini co-​​authored the first population-​​based based study in the US com­paring births con­ceived with Assisted Repro­duc­tive Tech­nology (ART) to those without ART or infer­tility med­ica­tions, finding that the former is strongly asso­ci­ated with numerous chronic con­di­tions and com­pli­ca­tions during preg­nancy, labor and delivery. The paper, titled “A Population-​​Based Study of Maternal and Peri­natal Out­comes Asso­ci­ated with Assisted Repro­duc­tive Tech­nology in Mass­a­chu­setts” appeared in the November issue of Maternal and Child Health Journal.

During recent years, the number of ART-​​conceived infants in the US increased dra­mat­i­cally, and so did the number of doc­u­mented cases of adverse health out­comes for both mothers and babies,” said Nan­nini, Assis­tant Pro­fessor of Nursing in the Bouve Col­lege of Health Sci­ences at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. “This trend under­scores the need to study the pos­sible link between ART and these out­comes and we are excited to have had the oppor­tu­nity to access linked national and state-​​wide data for the first time to do so.”

Authors linked data from the US ART sur­veil­lance system with the Mass­a­chu­setts live birth-​​infant death files for MA res­i­dent births in 1997–98, and ana­lyzed asso­ci­a­tions between ART and maternal, peri­natal and infant adverse out­comes. With a study pop­u­la­tion of over 150 thou­sand deliv­eries, the researchers found that ART births were asso­ci­ated with pre-​​existing dia­betes, incom­pe­tent cervix, uterine bleeding, pregnancy-​​induced hyper­ten­sion, pla­cental abrub­tion and pla­centa previa.

Even when excluding mul­tiple births and matching single infants on key char­ac­ter­is­tics, study results found ART births sug­gest evi­dence that:

  • a persistent association with pre-existing maternal conditions and labor and delivery complications
  • ART births are associated with prolonged newborn hospital stays due to low birth weight, preterm delivery and other factors
  • although ART mothers were more likely to start prenatal care early receive many more visits than their non-ART counterparts, they are still the ones with the most concerning adverse health outcomes

Our find­ings can help providers to become better equipped to care for women using ART and to pro­vide appro­priate coun­seling rel­e­vant to poten­tial health risks,” added Nan­nini. “Fur­ther studies are needed to uncover the mech­a­nisms under­lying the asso­ci­a­tion between ART and adverse out­comes, and also to assess post­natal devel­op­ment of ART and non-​​ART children.”

The study was co-​​authored by researchers from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Public Health and the Mass­a­chu­setts Con­sor­tium for Assisted Repro­duc­tive Tech­nology Epi­demi­o­logic Research rep­re­senting infer­tility clinics.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Renata Nyul at 617–373-7424 or at r.​nyul@​neu.​edu.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.