Gestational age-specific perinatal mortality rates for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and other births

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Journal Article
Human Reproduction, 2018, 33 (2), pp. 320 - 327
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© The Author 2017. STUDY QUESTION: Is perinatal mortality rate higher among births born following assisted reproductive technology (ART) compared to non-ART births? SUMMARY ANSWER: Overall perinatal mortality rates in ART births was higher compared to non-ART births, but gestational age-specific perinatal mortality rate of ART births was lower for very preterm and moderate to late preterm births. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Births born following ART are reported to have higher risk of adverse perinatal outcomes compared to non-ART births. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This population-based retrospective cohort study included 407 368 babies (391 952 non-ART and 15 416 ART)—393 491 singletons and 10 877 twins or high order multiples. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: All births (≥20 weeks of gestation and/or ≥400 g of birthweight) in five states and territories in Australia during the period 2007–2009 were included in the study, using National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC). Primary outcome measures were rates of stillbirth, neonatal and perinatal deaths. Adjusted odds ratio (AOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to estimate the likelihood of perinatal death. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Rates of multiple birth and low birthweight were significantly higher in ART group compared to the non-ART group (P < 0.01). Overall perinatal mortality rate was significantly higher for ART births (16.5 per 1000 births, 95% CI 14.5–18.6), compared to non-ART births (11.3 per 1000 births, 95% CI 11.0–11.6) (AOR 1.45, 95% CI 1.26–1.68). However, gestational age-specific perinatal mortality rate of ART births (including both singletons and multiples) was lower for very preterm (<32 weeks’ gestation) and moderate to late preterm births (32–36 weeks’ gestation) (AOR 0.61, 95% CI 0.53–0.70 and AOR 0.61, 95% CI 0.53–0.70, respectively) compared to non-ART births. Congenital abnormality and spontaneous preterm were the most common causes of neonatal deaths in both ART and non-ART group. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Due to different cut-off limit for perinatal period in Australia, the results of this study should be interpreted with cautions for other countries. Australian definition of perinatal period commences at 20 completed weeks (140 days) of gestation and ends 27 completed days after birth which is different from the definition by World Health Organisation (commences at 22 completed weeks (154 days) of gestation and ends seven completed days after birth) and by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (includes infant deaths under age 7 days and fetal deaths at 28 weeks of gestation or more). WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Preterm birth is the single most important contributing factor to increased risk of perinatal mortality among ART singletons compared to non-ART singletons. Further research on reducing early preterm delivery, with the aim of reducing the perinatal mortality among ART births is needed. Couples who access ART treatment should be fully informed regarding the risk of preterm birth and subsequent risk of perinatal death. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): There was no funding associated with this study. No conflict of interest was declared.
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