Mode of conception does not appear to affect placental volume in the first trimester

First trimester placental size does not appear to differ based on mode of conception and thus may not be a useful marker of placental aberrations.

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Volume 107, Issue 6, Pages 1341–1347.e1


Sara J. Churchill, M.D., Erica T. Wang, M.D., Marcy Akhlaghpour, B.S., Ellen H. Goldstein, M.D., Dina Eschevarria, M.D., Naomi Greene, M.P.H., Ph.D., Matthew Macer, M.D., Temeka Zore, M.D., John Williams III, M.D., Margareta D. Pisarska, M.D.



To study whether infertility treatments, including IVF and non-IVF fertility treatments, are associated with diseases of placental insufficiency in early gestation. First trimester placental volumes by ultrasound and chorionic villi weight during sampling (CVS) were performed to detect differences between pregnancies conceived spontaneously versus with fertility treatments.


Retrospective cohort.


Academic tertiary center.


Women with singleton pregnancies undergoing CVS and first trimester ultrasound from April 2007 to November 2015.


Estimated placental volume (EPV) was calculated from ultrasound images using a validated computation and CVS estimated tissue weight was performed using a validated visual analogue scale.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Adjusted linear regression was used to compare EPV and CVS weight based on mode of conception.


A total of 1,977 spontaneous and 334 conceived with fertility treatments (133 non-IVF and 201 IVF) pregnancies were included. Significant differences in maternal age, gravidity, hypertension, and smoking status were identified. EPV and CVS weight were correlated with maternal age, gestational age, and maternal hypertension. Adjusted linear regression showed no difference in EPV in pregnancies conceived with fertility treatments versus spontaneously. The CVS weight was significantly lower in the IVF conceptions in unadjusted univariate analyses. However, after adjusted regression, this was no longer significant.


Mode of conception does not appear to affect first trimester placental size. As differences in maternal age, hypertension, and smoking status differ among the groups and are correlated to placental size, it may be the underlying patient population leading to abnormal placentation and insufficiency, not the fertility treatments used.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.