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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Time trends in placenta-mediated pregnancy complications after assisted reproductive technology in the Nordic countries

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BACKGROUND: The use of assisted reproductive technology is increasing worldwide and conception after assisted reproduction currently comprises 3%-6% of birth cohorts in the Nordic countries. The risk of placenta-mediated pregnancy complications is greater after assisted reproductive technology compared with spontaneously conceived pregnancies. Whether the excess risk of placenta-mediated pregnancy complications in pregnancies following assisted reproduction has changed over time, is unknown.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether time trends in risk of pregnancy complications (hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, placental abruption and placenta previa) differ for pregnancies after assisted reproductive technology compared with spontaneously conceived pregnancies during 3 decades of assisted reproduction treatment in the Nordic countries.

STUDY DESIGN: In a population-based cohort study, with data from national health registries in Denmark (1994-2014), Finland (1990-2014), Norway (1988-2015) and Sweden (1988-2015), we included 6,830,578 pregnancies resulting in delivery. Among these, 146,998 (2.2%) were pregnancies after assisted reproduction (125,708 singleton pregnancies, 20,668 twin pregnancies and 622 of higher order plurality) and 6,683,132 (97.8%) pregnancies were conceived spontaneously (6,595,185 singleton pregnancies, 87,106 twin pregnancies and 1,289 of higher order plurality). We used logistic regression with post-estimation to estimate absolute risks and risk differences for each complication. We repeated analyses for singleton and twin pregnancies, separately. In subsamples with available information, we also adjusted for maternal body mass index, smoking during pregnancy, previous cesarean delivery, culture duration, and cryopreservation.

RESULTS: The risk of each placental complication was consistently greater in pregnancies following assisted reproductive technology compared with spontaneously conceived pregnancies across the study period, except for hypertensive disorders in twin pregnancies, where risks were similar. Risk of hypertensive disorders increased over time in twin pregnancies for both conception methods, but more strongly for pregnancies following assisted reproductive technology (risk difference, 1.73 percentage points per 5 years; 95% confidence interval, 1.35-2.11) than for spontaneously conceived twins (risk difference, 0.75 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.89). No clear time trends were found for hypertensive disorders in singleton pregnancies. Risk of placental abruption decreased over time in all groups. Risk differences were -0.16 percentage points (95% confidence interval, -0.19 to -0.12) and -0.06 percentage points (95% confidence interval, -0.06 to -0.05) for pregnancies after assisted reproduction and spontaneously conceived pregnancies, respectively, for singletons and multiple pregnancies combined. Over time, the risk of placenta previa increased in pregnancies after assisted reproduction among both singletons (risk difference, 0.21 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, 0.14-0.27) and twins (risk difference, 0.30 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.43), but remained stable in spontaneously conceived pregnancies. When adjusting for culture duration, the temporal increase in placenta previa became weaker in all groups of assisted reproductive technology pregnancies, whereas adjustment for cryopreservation moderately attenuated trends in assisted reproductive technology twin pregnancies.

CONCLUSIONS: The risk of placenta-mediated pregnancy complications following assisted reproductive technology remains higher compared to spontaneously conceived pregnancies, despite declining rates of multiple pregnancies. For hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and placental abruption, pregnancies after assisted reproduction follow the same time trends as the background population, whereas for placenta previa, risk has increased over time in pregnancies after assisted reproductive technology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume223
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)226.e1-226.e19
ISSN0002-9378
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • Abruptio Placentae/epidemiology, Adult, Age Factors, Diabetes, Gestational/epidemiology, Female, Humans, Incidence, Placenta Previa/epidemiology, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications/epidemiology, Registries, Reproductive Techniques, Assisted/adverse effects, Risk, Scandinavian and Nordic Countries, Young Adult

ID: 62293395