We reviewed the occurrence of prematurity, low birth weight, multiple gestations, frequency of stillbirths and maternity care-associated variables including hospital stay and hospital charges of women conceiving using assisted reproductive technology (ART) or artificial insemination (AI) compared with women with a history of infertility who conceived naturally, and all other naturally conceived pregnancies in California at non-federal hospitals between 2009 and 2011. At a single center, infants born after ART/AI were compared with infants provided care in the normal nursery.
Publically available inpatient data sets from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for years 2009–2011 using data from all California non-federal hospitals were used to determine the impact of ART on a variety of pregnancy-related outcomes and infant characteristics. Infant data from a single center was used to determine hospital charges for infants delivered over an 18-month period to compare the hospital and physician charges indexed to similar charges for infants admitted to the ‘normal’ newborn nursery.
Among ART/AI pregnancies, there was a 4–5-fold increase in stillbirths, compared with a 2–3-fold increase among women with infertility compared with other naturally conceiving women. ART/AI pregnancies underwent more cesarean sections (fourfold), and a near fourfold increase in the rate of preterm deliveries. Multiple gestations were increased 24–27-fold compared with naturally conceived pregnancies. Maternal hospital stay and hospital charges were increased among those undergoing ART/AI. Infant charges were increased multi-fold for singletons, twins and triplets delivered after ART/AI compared with naturally conceived infants.
Multiple births, preterm births and a higher overall rate of fetal anomalies were found in California after ART/AI for 2009–2011. Cesarean section rates, longer length of maternal stay and hospital charges among women receiving ART/AI could be lowered if emphasis on elective single embryo transfers was a higher priority among providers. Charges for the care of infants delivered after ART/AI are substantially higher than among naturally conceived infants born late preterm or at term. Families seeking ART/AI need to be informed of the impact of these adverse pregnancy outcomes, including neonatal outcomes and charges for medical care for their infant(s), when considering ART/AI.
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Appreciation is expressed to the hospital financial auditing department of Loma Linda University Medical Center and to Department financial auditors. This study was funded, in part, from a community services grant from Medimmune to the Perinatal Advocacy Committee of Greater Los Angeles.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Merritt, T., Goldstein, M., Philips, R. et al. Impact of ART on pregnancies in California: an analysis of maternity outcomes and insights into the added burden of neonatal intensive care. J Perinatol 34, 345–350 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2014.17
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