Brain ultrasound features in multiple births due to spontaneous conception compared with assisted reproductive techniques: a cross-sectional, population-based study.
ABSTRACT Aim: Multiple pregnancies from spontaneous conception and obtained by assisted reproductive techniques (ART) are associated with a disproportionate share of complications compared with natural singleton pregnancies. The outcome of multiple pregnancies obtained by ART is still the subject of controversial opinions in the medical literature as they are associated with increased rates of perinatal complications, and perinatal mortality, as well as maternal complications. Aim of this study was to determine whether there are differences between these two groups of infants. Methods: We examined the imaging findings by means of brain ultrasound (performed at birth and sequentially up to their 6th month of age) in a cohort of 296 twins and triplets born following different techniques of assisted fertilization (63 pregnancies; 119 neonates) vs. spontaneous conception (94 pregnancies; 177 neonates). Results: We did record, by means of X square corrected test, statistically significant differences (P=0.002) between the two populations at birth in the number of normal ultrasound scans (ART<spontaneous neonates); transient hyperechogenecity (spontaneous<ART neonates) and persistent hyperechogenecity (ART<spontaneous neonates). Conclusion: No differences in brain ultrasound findings between the two groups of ART and between spontaneous vs. assisted conceptions (P=0.959) at long-term follow-up have been noticed.