Risk of Severe Maternal Morbidity by Maternal Fertility Status: A US Study in Eight States

Barbara Luke, Morton B. Brown, Ethan Wantman, Valerie L. Baker, Kevin J. Doody, David B. Seifer, Logan G. Spector

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20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Over the past two decades the characteristics of women giving birth in the United States and the nature of the births themselves have changed dramatically, with increases in older maternal age, plural births, cesarean deliveries, and conception from infertility treatment. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the risk of severe maternal morbidity by maternal fertility status, and for IVF pregnancies, by oocyte source and embryo state combinations. STUDY DESIGN Women in eight States who underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles resulting in a live birth during 2004-13 were linked to their infant’s birth certificates; a 10:1 sample of births from non-IVF deliveries were selected for comparison; those with an indication of infertility treatment on the birth certificate were categorized as subfertile, all others were categorized as fertile. IVF pregnancies were additionally categorized by oocyte source (autologous vs donor) and embryo state (fresh vs thawed). Maternal morbidity was identified from the birth certificate, modeled using logistic regression, and reported as adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals [AOR (95% CI)]. The reference group was fertile women. RESULTS The study population included 1,477,522 pregnancies (1,346,118 fertile, 11,298 subfertile, 80,254 IVF autologous-fresh, 21,964 IVF autologous-thawed, 13,218 IVF donor-fresh and 4,670 IVF donor-thawed pregnancies); 1,420,529 singleton, 54,573 twin, and 2,420 triplet+ pregnancies. Compared to fertile women, subfertile and the four groups of IVF-treated women had increased risks for blood transfusion and 3rd or 4th degree perineal laceration (subfertile, 1.58 [1.23, 2.02] and 2.08 [1.79, 2.43]; autologous-fresh, 1.33 [1.14, 1.54] and 1.37 [1.26, 1.49]; autologous-thawed, 1.94 [1.60, 2.36] and 2.10 [1.84, 2.40]; donor-fresh 2.16 [1.69, 2.75] and 2.11 [1.66, 2.69]; and donor-thawed, 2.01 [1.38, 2.92] and 1.28 [0.79, 2.08]). Also compared to fertile women, the risk of unplanned hysterectomy was increased for IVF-treated women in the autologous-thawed group (2.80, [1.96, 4.00]), donor-fresh group (2.14 [1.33, 3.44], and the donor-thawed group (2.46 [1.33, 4.54]). The risk of ruptured uterus was increased for IVF-treated women in the autologous-fresh group (1.62 [1.14, 2.29]). Among women with a prior birth, the risk of blood transfusion after a vaginal birth was increased for subfertile women (2.91 [1.38, 6.15]), and women in all four IVF groups (autologous-fresh, 1.93 [1.23, 3.01]; autologous-thawed, 2.99 [1.78, 5.02]; donor-fresh, 5.13 [2.39, 11.02]; and donor-thawed, 5.20 [1.83, 14.82]; the risk after a cesarean delivery was increased in the autologous-thawed group (1.74 [1.29, 2.33]) and the donor-fresh group (1.62 [1.07, 2.45]). Unplanned hysterectomy was increased in the autologous-thawed (2.31, [1.43, 3.71]) and donor-thawed groups (2.45 [1.06, 5.67]). CONCLUSIONS The risks of severe maternal morbidity are increased for subfertile and IVF births, particularly in pregnancies that are not from autologous, fresh cycles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
StatePublished - 2018

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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