Assisted reproductive technology and breastfeeding outcomes A case control study

Women who give birth after experiencing infertility and undergoing assisted reproductive techniques are at higher risk for early breastfeeding cessation.

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Antonella Cromi, Ph.D., Maurizio Serati, M.D., Ilario Candeloro, M.D., Stefano Uccella, Ph.D., Sara Scandroglio, M.D., Massimo Agosti, M.D., Fabio Ghezzi, M.D.

Volume 103, Issue 1, Pages 89-94



To determine if breastfeeding outcomes differ between mothers who conceived spontaneously compared with those who conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART).


Matched case-control study.


Teaching hospital.


Ninety-four women having a singleton baby conceived with ART, matched by maternal age, parity, mode of delivery, and gestational age to controls who conceived spontaneously.


Cases and controls were interviewed using a standardized, structured questionnaire, to obtain information on lactation. Exposure to maternity care practices contributing to breastfeeding success was investigated.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Initiation, exclusivity, and continuation of breastfeeding.


Cases were as likely as controls to initiate breastfeeding (89.4% vs. 90.4%), but by 6 weeks postpartum, a greater proportion of mothers who conceived through ART has ceased breastfeeding (20.2% vs. 5.3%). The percentage of mothers who exclusively breastfed their child for 6 months was similar among the 2 groups. On univariate conditional logistic regression, a history of using ART was the only predictor of early breastfeeding cessation (odds ratio = 65.3 [95% confidence interval: 1.5–2889.3]).


Women who have conceived with ART should be regarded as being at higher risk for early breastfeeding cessation. This study serves as a first step in the investigation of potential modifiable factors that contribute to breastfeeding failure among women who give birth after using ART, and may help in efforts to customize breastfeeding support strategies.

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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.