Thursday, 22 August 2013

Women conceive naturally after having their first child through assisted reproductive technologies (ART)

Dr Karen Wynter80Dr Karen Wynter, of the Jean Hailes Research Unit at Monash University, was the lead author on paper which was published online recently in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. This article was the first to quantify rates of spontaneous conception in Australian women who have had a first child through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

The Parental Age and Transition to Parenthood (PATPA) study recruited women in Sydney and Melbourne who were pregnant with their first baby after spontaneous or ART conception, and followed this cohort of women until the toddler was approximately 2 years old. The study was carried out in collaboration with University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, IVF Australia and MelbourneIVF.

Of the 236 women who had an ART conceived first baby, 141 reported that they had not had further ART in the two years since the birth of the first baby. Of these, 46 women (33%) had spontaneous conceptions since the birth of the first baby. Women whose infertility was initially diagnosed as ‘‘unexplained’’ were more than twice as likely as others with a specific male or female factor infertility diagnosis to conceive spontaneously. One possible explanation is that some of these women had mild endometriosis when they were struggling to get pregnant with their first baby. This condition can affect fertility but pregnancy resolves some of the symptoms of endometriosis, which may explain the subsequent, spontaneous pregnancies in some cases.

Almost two thirds of the women who experienced spontaneous conceptions after having a baby through ART, reported that this was "unexpected", which suggests that health professionals should talk to all women about contraception after birth, even if they have had ART in the past.

More details can be found here.

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