Association between in vitro fertilization and ischemic placental disease by gestational age

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is associated with development of ischemic placental disease (IPD), with a stronger association between IVF and preterm IPD than between IVF and term IPD.

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VOLUME 114, ISSUE 3, P579-586


Katherine M. Johnson, M.D., Michele R. Hacker, Sc.D., Kim Thornton, M.D., Brett C. Young, M.D., Anna M. Modest, Ph.D.



To evaluate the association between in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ischemic placental disease (IPD), stratified by gestational age.


We performed a secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort study of deliveries.


Deliveries were performed over 15 years at a single tertiary hospital.


We included all parturients who had a live born infant or an intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD).


We compared pregnancies resulting from IVF cycles to non-IVF pregnancies.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The primary outcomes were preterm and term IPD (preeclampsia, placental abruption, small-for-gestational age infant [SGA], or an intrauterine fetal demise [IUFD] due to placental insufficiency).


Of the 69,084 deliveries during the study period, 3,763 (5.4%) were conceived with IVF. The incidence of preterm delivery was 32.6% in IVF pregnancies and 10.8% in non-IVF pregnancies. Multiple gestations were more common in IVF pregnancies. Compared to non-IVF pregnancies, IVF pregnancies were more likely to develop both preterm and term IPD, even after adjustment for maternal age and parity. The risk of preterm IPD was 4 times higher (95% confidence interval, 3.7–4.4) in patients who underwent IVF compared with those who did not undergo IVF. Among parturients who delivered at ≥37 weeks of gestation, IVF pregnancies had 1.7 times the risk of term IPD (95% confidence interval, 1.6–1.9) compared with non-IVF pregnancies.


IVF was strongly associated with preterm IPD. We found a similar, but attenuated, association between IVF and term IPD. The stronger association with preterm IPD suggests an association between IVF and placental insufficiency.

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.