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Giving birth to IVM babies more difficult, study finds

05 July 2010

By Maren Urner

Appeared in BioNews 565

Babies born after in vitro maturation of ooctyes (IVM), an assisted reproductive technology (ART), seem to be larger and to have more complicated births.

Researchers led by Dr Peter Sjöblom from Nottingham University's NURTURE IVF clinic found the average birth weight of 165 IVM babies was six to nine per cent higher than babies conceived by IVF/ICSI. The IVM babies' birth weights were also 0.3 to six per cent higher than the national average for singleton births.

Caesarean rates were also consistently higher after IVM: 30 - 60 per cent for singleton IVM births versus 27 - 44 per cent for IVF/ICSI. IVM pregnancies had high miscarriage rates (25 to 37 per cent) and the average gestation period was three to 11 days longer than IVF/ICSI.

The researchers also speculated that IVM births might require more inductions, vacuum extractions and forceps deliveries than IVF/ICSI and natural births.

'We looked at four different data sets from four different countries and, although the numbers were small and differences modest, we saw a consistent pattern that cannot be ignored. We strongly believe that these findings must be explored further', Dr Sjöblom said.

The team looked at data from four studies of babies born after IVM, IVF and ICSI in Denmark, Finland, Canada and Korea. Statistical analysis was only possible for one of the studies because distribution data for the babies born after IVM or national averages were missing.

Dr Sjöblom and his team believe that, because IVM involves collecting and maturing immature eggs outside the body, it could interfere with early development. But the exact mechanisms leading to the observed results remain unclear and studies of more babies born by IVM will be needed before the risks are fully understood.

'[…W]ith much larger numbers, we can obtain accurate information on the health of these children. This will enable us to have reliable data with which to inform prospective parents about any possible risks associated with the procedure', said André van Steirteghem, Professor Emeritus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) medical school, who was not involved in the study.

Although IVM is rarely used in the UK at the moment, it offers the possibility to make ovarian stimulation obsolete, thereby reducing the costs of fertility treatment. Furthermore, it is valuable for women with cancer who need egg collection urgently.

The team presented their results at the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Rome, 27th to 30th of June.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

30 August 2016 - by Dr Rachel Huddart 
Researchers have reported on an experimental technique that could improve the fertilisation success rate of in vitro maturation IVM, an alternative fertility method to IVF...
02 August 2010 - by Chris Chatterton 
Women who conceived by IVF face higher risk of death during pregnancy and birth, a Dutch study has found. The reason is likely to be higher multiple births by IVF and older mothers using donor eggs...

16 November 2008 - by Sarah Pritchard 
By Sarah Guy; A new method of assisted conception has been hailed as a safer and equally effective alternative to IVF for certain groups of women undergoing treatment. The Oxford Fertility Centre revealed this week that of the 40 women they treated between February 2007 and March 2008 with in-vitro...
07 April 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
Fertility treatments performed in the UK are among the most risky in Europe, according to data released by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), reported in the Independent on Sunday. The chances of prospective mothers developing serious complications are reportedly four times greater than...
28 October 2007 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
The first babies in the UK to be conceived using in vitro maturation (IVM) techniques have been born. The Oxford Fertility Unit - the first clinic in the country to be given a licence to perform the procedure - announced the birth of the twin babies earlier this...
02 July 2003 - by BioNews 
BioNews reporting from ESHRE conference, Madrid: A study presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid, Spain, has suggested a future way of harvesting eggs from aborted fetuses. Researchers from Israel and the Netherlands presented the results of a preliminary study...

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