For women who are trying to conceive via fertility treatments, a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that the health of the uterus is more crucial for a newborn to have a normal birth weight and full gestation, more than the quality of the egg.
The study was led by Dr. William Gibbons, director of The Family Fertility Program at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, together with co-researchers from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART).
The study involved looking at data comparing the average birth weight as well as gestational time for single births born using standard IVF, IVF with donor eggs and IVF via a surrogate. More than 300,000 IVF cycles were done during the duration of the study, producing 70,000 pregnancies.
Said Dr. Gibbons, "This is the first time that a study demonstrated that the health of a women's uterus is a key determinant for a fetus to obtain normal birth weight and normal length of gestation. While obvious issues of uterine fibroids or conditions that alter the shape of the uterus are suspected to affect pregnancy rates, conditions that result in poorer ovarian function to the point of needing donor eggs are not known. Further research is needed to fully understand this complex issue."
When it came to birth weight, there was a greater association of it with standard IVF than IVF with donor eggs or in a surrogate, which helps support the idea that the woman’s own uterus is an important factor for normal birth weight and full gestation.
The researchers also considered the factor of male infertility and how it did not affect birth weight or gestational age, whereas every case of female infertility had an effect on these.
Patients who had uterine conditions such as fibroids produced newborns with the lowest birth weight and gestational ages, another reason the researchers looked into uterine health as a factor.
SOURCES: • February 4, 2011. “Uterine Health More Important Than Egg Quality” medicalnewstoday.com • February 3, 2011. “Uterine Health May Be More Important than Egg Quality for Babies of Infertile Women Born Through IVF, Says New Study” bestwaytoconceive.com • February 3, 2011. “Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Uterine Health More Important Than Egg Quality, Study Shows” ScienceDaily.com