Advances in assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) is known to be associated with a high rate of multiple pregnancy and prematurity. However reliable data on neonatal outcomes of infants born preterm after IVF are lacking.
A cohort study was conducted to compare neonatal outcomes of 90 very premature infants born after IVF at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital between 2005 and 2011, with a control group born after natural conception, matched by gestational age. The IRB approved the study.
Mothers of infants born after IVF were older (34 vs 28 yrs p<0.001) and had lower parity (0 vs 1 p<0.001). Gestational age and birth weight were not different between groups. More IVF infants were females (56% vs 40% p<0.01) and were born by C-section (94% vs 88% p<0.03). The only difference between groups was a higher 1 minute Apgar score in IVF infants (6.2 vs 5.1 p<0.002). No differences in 5 and 10 minutes Apgar’s score, need for surfactant, duration of mechanical ventilation and need for O2 were found. There were no differences in the incidence of major morbidities, IVH, BPD, NEC, sepsis, and PDA ligation. Mortality and LOS were similar in both groups.
These results demonstrate that when compared with infants of similar gestational age outcomes of IVF premature infants are not different from naturally conceived infants. The reported higher risk for poor outcomes in IVF infants is most likely related with the higher risk of multiple gestation and prematurity.