A report out this week from a Danish hospital claims that if you’re pregnant with an IVF, ICSI or other assisted conception baby, then you’re four times as likely to have a stillbirth.
It makes alarming reading and my worry is that it will cause unnecessary stress to many IVF and ICSI patients who have already been through enough just to get pregnant in the first place.
I’d like to give some reassurance to my patients and those going through IVF right now at other hospitals and medical centres. Before you get too concerned, please bear in mind that this report needs to be taken into context.
The report shows that the risk of stillbirth after IVF, ICSI or other assisted conception method is still extremely low – 16.2 per thousand. The majority of people who have babies through IVF or ICSI go on to have healthy babies.
It also showed that the risk of stillbirth cannot be attributed to your infertility directly. The study showed that the risk was the same for fertile couples who got pregnant within a year and those who took longer. This indicates that the increased risk isn’t down to infertility but possibly other as yet unexplained factors.
What this does alert us to is that more studies need to be carried out. I agree with Peter Baude, the head of women’s health at Kings College London, Guys, Kings and St Thomas’ hospitals, who said that the question of whether an IVF, or ICSI pregnancy carries a more increased risk of stillbirth needs to examined further, with a higher sample of women.
The Danish study sample was small – it in fact represented only 7 per cent of the babies born in the UK in just one year. If any of our patients have any concerns, please feel free to contact us or call in to see us. We’d be more than happy to put your mind at rest.