[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Is there a different risk for major congenital anomalies (CAs) in children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET) compared with children born after fresh embryo transfer (ET)?
Children born after FET have a similar risk of developing major CAs as children born after fresh ET.
The perinatal outcome in children born after FET is as good as that after fresh ET. Children born as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART) have an increased risk for CAs when compared with spontaneously conceived children, but the knowledge on the risk for CAs in specific organ systems of children born after FET is limited.
This register-based cohort study includes women who have undergone ART treatments with ET leading to singleton births (n = 4772) between the years 1995 and 2006. The women were identified from the registers of the infertility clinics, and the corresponding births were matched with data from the Finnish Medical Birth Register (FMBR). The 10% random sample of women with spontaneous pregnancies from the FMBR served as the reference group (n = 31 243). The study data were linked with the Register of Congenital Malformations using the mothers' and children's personal identification numbers to get information on CAs. Furthermore, the personal identification numbers of the ART women were linked with the Register of Induced Abortions to find their selective terminations of pregnancy for severe foetal anomalies.
The study was focused on singleton births and included 1830 children born after FET, 2942 children born after fresh ET and 31 243 children born after spontaneous pregnancies. Only major CAs were analysed in keeping with European Concerted Action on Congenital Anomalies and Twins. The risk estimates for CAs were adjusted for the children's year of birth and maternal age, parity and socioeconomic status. The total prevalence of major CAs was counted, including both births and selective terminations of pregnancy for major fetal anomalies (n = 33).
Among singletons at least one major CA was reported in 77 cases (4.2%) in the FET group, 132 cases (4.5%) in the fresh ET group and 994 cases (3.2%) in the reference group. The risk for at least one major CA of the children born after FET was not increased compared with the children born after fresh ET [adjusted odd ratio (aOR) 0.95; 0.71-1.27]. Furthermore, no increased risks according to the organ system affected were found between these two ART groups. When comparing the children born after ART (FET and fresh ET) with the reference group children, the risk of having at least one major CA was moderately increased in the ART group (aOR 1.24; 1.05-1.47).
Because of the study design we were neither able to examine the aetiology of infertility nor could we compare the data with a group of subfertile women to account for the effect of infertility per se on CAs.
Perinatal outcomes of FET children, including the risks for CAs, are good and comparable with outcomes of other ART children indicating that slow freezing is a safe method to use during ART treatments.
University Hospital of Oulu and Helsinki, Finland. THL covered the data linkages and the work of Annukka Ritvanen and Mika Gissler. There are no competing interests to be reported.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STUDY QUESTION: Is an elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) policy feasible for women aged 40 or older? SUMMARY ANSWER: For older women (aged 40-44 years) with a good prognosis, an eSET policy can be applied with acceptable cumulative clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Various studies have shown the effectiveness of eSET in women aged <35 years with high cumulative pregnancy rates and low rates of multiple births. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This retrospective cohort study included 628 women treated between 2000 and 2009. PARTICIPANTS, SETTING, METHODS: Women aged 40-44 years underwent a fresh cycle of IVF or ICSI treatment with eSET (n = 264) or double-embryo transfer (DET) (n = 364). In the subsequent frozen-thawed embryo transfer cycles, SET/DET was performed in both groups according to the number of embryos available and the opinion of the couple. The study was performed at the Family Federation of Finland Helsinki Fertility Clinic. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: In the fresh cycles, the clinical pregnancy rates were 23.5 and 19.5% in the eSET and DET groups, respectively, and live birth rates were 13.6 and 11.0%, respectively. In the fresh cycles with eSET, there were no twin pregnancies, but in the DET group, there were three sets of twins (7.5%). The cumulative clinical pregnancy rates per oocyte retrieval were 37.1 and 24.2% in the eSET and DET groups, respectively (P < 0.001), and the cumulative live birth rates were 22.7 and 13.2%, respectively (P = 0.002). Cumulative twin rates were 6.7% (n = 4) in the eSET group and 8.3% (n = 4) in the DET group (P = 0.726). All of the twin pregnancies in the eSET group resulted from frozen and thawed DET embryo transfer cycles. LIMITATIONS: The characteristics of the two patients groups are not comparable because the suitability of eSET was individually assessed by a clinician based on both clinical prognostic factors and the outcome of IVF or ICSI, i.e. the number and quality of embryos. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: This study may be generalized to IVF units having experience in eSET and cryopreservation. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study received no funding and there are no conflicts of interests to be declared.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Are self-reported menstrual disorders associated with hyperandrogenaemia and metabolic disturbances as early as in adolescence? SUMMARY ANSWER: Menstrual disorders at the age 16 are a good marker of hyperandrogenaemia, and an adverse lipid profile was associated with higher androgen levels. WHAT IS KNOWN AND WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Hyperandrogenism per se has been suggested to be a significant metabolic risk factor in women and a cause of physical and psychological morbidity in adolescent girls. A weak positive correlation has been described between hyperandrogenaemia and obesity in adolescent girls, but the clinical consequences are still poorly understood. Hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance are also key features of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and women with PCOS are consequently at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or metabolic syndrome, and may have increased cardiovascular morbidity. Our findings confirm that the association between menstrual disorders, hyperandrogenism, obesity and metabolic risks is already evident in adolescence.
This population-based, cross-sectional study used postal questionnaires to targeting 15-16-year-old girls in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (n= 4567).
There were 3669 girls who answered the postal questionnaire and out of 3373 girls who also underwent clinical examinations and blood tests, 2448 were included in the analyses. The questionnaire included one question about the regularity and length of the menstrual cycle: 'Is your menstrual cycle (the interval from the beginning of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next period) often (more than twice a year) longer than 35 days?' The girls who answered 'yes' to this question were considered to be suffering from menstrual disorders and were classified as 'symptomatic'. The girls who answered 'no' were defined as 'non-symptomatic'. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: There were 709 (29%) girls who reported menstrual disorders (symptomatic girls) and 1739 who had regular periods (non-symptomatic girls). In the whole population and in both study groups, there were significant correlations between body mass index (BMI) (and waist-to-hip ratio), hyperandrogenaemia and metabolic parameters. Symptomatic girls exhibited significantly higher serum concentrations of testosterone (P= 0.010), lower levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (P =0.042) and higher free androgen indices [FAIs; geometric mean 3.38 (interquartile range (IQR): 2.27, 5.18) versus 3.08 (IQR: 2.15, 4.74), P= 0.002]. The two groups had comparable BMI and insulin sensitivity, and serum levels of glucose, insulin and lipids. There was a significant linear trend towards higher FAI values in the higher BMI quartiles in both symptomatic and non-symptomatic girls. In the whole population, there was a statistically significant linear decrease in high-density lipoprotein concentrations (P < 0.001) and higher triglyceride concentrations (P =0.004) in the upper FAI quartile.
Information regarding menstrual disorders in adolescence is a good marker of hyperandrogenaemia and may be an early risk factor for the development of PCOS in adulthood. The association between obesity, hyperandrogenism and metabolic risks is already evident in adolescence, which strengthens the importance of noting menstrual disorders at an early stage. BIAS, LIMITATIONS, GENERALIZABILITY: The cross-sectional nature of the study does not allow us to draw conclusions concerning the metabolic risks of this population in later life. The diagnosis of menstrual disorders was based on a questionnaire, suggesting a risk of information bias in reporting the symptoms. This study was not designed to diagnose PCOS, as ultrasonography was not available and there was no clinical evaluation of hyperandrogenism (i.e. hirsutism). However, we were able to take into account potential confounding factors in the analyses. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: This work was supported by grants from the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, the North Ostrobothnia Regional Fund, the Academy of Finland (project grants 104781, 120315, 129269, 1114194, SALVE), University Hospital Oulu, Biocenter, University of Oulu, Finland (75617), the European Commission (EURO-BLCS, Framework 5 award QLG1-CT-2000-01643) and the Medical Research Council, UK (PrevMetSyn/SALVE). None of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare.
Human Reproduction 08/2012; 27(11):3279-86. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The number of children born after frozen embryo transfer (FET) is steadily rising. However, studies on obstetric and perinatal outcomes are limited. Our primary aim was to compare the perinatal health of children born after FET and fresh embryo transfer, and to use data from children born after spontaneous conception as a reference.
In a register-based cohort study we evaluated the obstetric and perinatal outcomes of children born after FET (n = 2293), fresh embryo transfer (n = 4151) and those born after spontaneous pregnancy (reference group; n = 31 946). Data were collected from the registers of two infertility outpatient clinics, two university hospitals and the Finnish Medical Birth Register (1995-2006).
After adjusting for confounding factors the FET group showed decreased risks of preterm birth [adjusted odd ratio (AOR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.71-0.97], low birthweight (AOR 0.74; 0.62-0.88) and being small for gestational age (AOR 0.63; 0.49-0.83) compared with the fresh embryo transfer group. Mean birthweight was 134 g higher in the FET singletons versus the fresh embryo transfer singletons (P< 0.0001). When FET singletons were compared with the reference group, increased risks of preterm birth (AOR 1.45; 1.25-1.68) and low birthweight (AOR 1.22; 1.03-1.45) and a decreased risk of being small for gestational age (AOR 0.71; 0.54-0.92) were found. No excess of perinatal and infant mortality occurred between the groups.
Embryo freezing does not adversely affect perinatal outcome in terms of prematurity, low birthweight and being small for gestational age versus the fresh embryo transfer and the outcome is similar or even better, particularly regarding fetal growth. Our study, which is one of the largest on FET pregnancies, provides further evidence on the safety of FET.
Human Reproduction 04/2010; 25(4):914-23. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare the effectiveness of elective single embryo transfer versus double embryo transfer on the outcomes of live birth, multiple live birth, miscarriage, preterm birth, term singleton birth, and low birth weight after fresh embryo transfer, and on the outcomes of cumulative live birth and multiple live birth after fresh and frozen embryo transfers.
One stage meta-analysis of individual patient data.
A systematic review of English and non-English articles from Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (up to 2008). Additional studies were identified by contact with clinical experts and searches of bibliographies of all relevant primary articles. Search terms included embryo transfer, randomised controlled trial, controlled clinical trial, single embryo transfer, and double embryo transfer. Review methods Comparisons of the clinical effectiveness of cleavage stage (day 2 or 3) elective single versus double embryo transfer after fresh or frozen in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatments were included. Trials were included if the intervention differed only in terms of the intended number of embryos to be transferred. Trials that involved only blastocyst (day five) transfers were excluded.
Individual patient data were received for every patient recruited to all eight eligible trials (n=1367). A total of 683 and 684 women randomised to the single and double embryo transfer arms, respectively, were included in the analysis. Baseline characteristics in the two groups were comparable. The overall live birth rate in a fresh IVF cycle was lower after single (181/683, 27%) than double embryo transfer (285/683, 42%) (adjusted odds ratio 0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.63), as was the multiple birth rate (3/181 (2%) v 84/285 (29%)) (0.04, 0.01 to 0.12). An additional frozen single embryo transfer, however, resulted in a cumulative live birth rate not significantly lower than the rate after one fresh double embryo transfer (132/350 (38%) v 149/353 (42%) (0.85, 0.62 to 1.15), with a minimal cumulative risk of multiple birth (1/132 (1%) v 47/149 (32%)). The odds of a term singleton birth (that is, over 37 weeks) after elective single embryo transfer was almost five times higher than the odds after double embryo transfer (4.93, 2.98 to 8.18).
Elective single embryo transfer results in a higher chance of delivering a term singleton live birth compared with double embryo transfer. Although this strategy yields a lower pregnancy rate than a double embryo transfer in a fresh IVF cycle, this difference is almost completely overcome by an additional frozen single embryo transfer cycle. The multiple pregnancy rate after elective single embryo transfer is comparable with that observed in spontaneous pregnancies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether low-dose aspirin improves uteroplacental hemodynamics in unselected in-vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) subjects when medication is started concomitantly with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
Thirty-seven pregnant women who had undergone IVF/ICSI and had been randomized to receive 100 mg aspirin (n = 17) or placebo (n = 20) daily, started concomitantly with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, were included in this study. Doppler ultrasound examination was performed at 6, 10, 13 and 18 weeks' gestation. Uterine artery (UtA) pulsatility index (PI) was calculated and bilateral UtA notching was noted. Subplacental arcuate artery PI was obtained at 6 and 10 weeks' gestation. Umbilical artery (UA) PI and mean velocity were calculated at 10, 13 and 18 weeks' gestation. In the aspirin group there was one early pregnancy miscarriage, and one patient discontinued the study medication owing to early pregnancy bleeding. A total of 15 women in the aspirin group and 20 women in the placebo group underwent the complete ultrasound protocol.
At 6 weeks' gestation, arcuate artery PI and at 18 weeks' gestation, UtA PI were lower (P < 0.05) in the aspirin group than in the placebo group. At 18 weeks' gestation, bilateral UtA notching tended to be more common in the placebo group (40%) than in the aspirin group (13%) (P = 0.06). UA PI and mean velocity did not differ significantly between the groups.
Low-dose aspirin reduces uteroplacental vascular impedance in early and mid pregnancy in unselected IVF/ICSI subjects when medication is started concomitantly with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 10/2008; 32(5):687-93. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variants in the fat-mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) influence susceptibility to type 2 diabetes via an effect on adiposity/obesity. Given the important role of obesity in the aetiology of both polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus, our aim was to establish whether FTO variants are also implicated in PCOS susceptibility.
We performed a genetic association study of FTO variant rs9939609 using case-control analyses, conducted in 463 PCOS patients (geometric mean BMI 27.5 kg/m(2)) and 1,336 female controls (geometric mean BMI 25.3 kg/m(2)) of UK British/Irish origin. We also sought evidence for associations between FTO variation and circulating testosterone levels in 324 UK PCOS patients and 1,000 women from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966. Outcome measures included FTO rs9939609 genotype frequencies by participant group and androgen measures (testosterone, free androgen index) by genotype.
There was a significant association between FTO genotype and PCOS status in the UK case-control analysis, which was attenuated by adjustment for BMI (Cochran-Armitage test, odds ratio [per minor allele copy] 1.30 [95% CI 1.12, 1.51], p = 7.2 x 10(-4) [unadjusted], p = 2.9 x 10(-3) [adjusted]). This association was most evident in obese PCOS patients (PCOS patients below median BMI vs UK controls, p = 0.11; above median BMI vs controls, p = 2.9 x 10(-4)). No relationship between FTO genotype and androgen levels was seen.
We provide the first evidence that variants that predispose to common obesity also result in altered susceptibility to PCOS, confirming the mechanistic link between these conditions. The predominant effect of FTO variants on PCOS susceptibility is probably mediated through adiposity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) suffer from anovulatory infertility and hospital-based studies suggest that they have an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. Our aim was to investigate the proportion of women, with self-reported oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism in a general population, who had suffered from infertility, the percentage of them managing to conceive and their rate of spontaneous abortion.
At age 31, a postal questionnaire including questions about hirsutism and oligo-amenorrhea was sent to all women from the population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (total n = 5889). Of these, 4535 (79.5%) answered the questionnaire, 1103 reported hirsutism and/or oligo/amenorrhea (symptomatic women) and 3420 were non-symptomatic. The fecundability ratio (FR) was defined as the probability of conception of a clinically detectable pregnancy within 12 months.
The overall pregnancy (77.7% versus 75.6%) and spontaneous abortion (19.3% versus 18.6%) rates did not differ between the two groups and the risk of spontaneous abortion was not associated with body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) or waist circumference. Symptomatic women had suffered more often from infertility than non-symptomatic women (19.4% versus 11.1%, P < 0.01). Oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism (FR = 0.74, P < 0.001) and obesity (FR = 0.68, P = 0.002) were both independently associated with decreased fecundability, but symptomatic women had become pregnant and had one or two successful deliveries as often as non-symptomatic women.
Women with self-reported oligo-amenorrhea and/or hirsutism had lower fecundability and suffered more often from infertility, but had at least one delivery as often as non-symptomatic women, and did not exhibit an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
Human Reproduction 06/2008; 23(9):2134-9. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The P12A variant in the PPARG gene and the E23K polymorphism in KCNJ11 are both known to influence individual predisposition to type 2 diabetes. If the effect of these variants on insulin secretion and action were to extend to an influence on early growth (which is largely mediated by insulin), it would offer an explanation for observed associations between low birthweight and subsequent diabetes. Since previous studies of the effects of these variants on early growth have been limited and conflicting, we examined these associations in a large, well-characterised birth cohort.
The P12A and E23K variants were genotyped in (respectively) 5,652 and 5,632 individuals from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966 and we sought associations with early growth phenotypes.
Neither variant was associated with birthweight (P12A, p = 0.42; E23K, p = 0.44, additive models) or other measures of early growth. Although a previous report had suggested that the P12A effect on adult insulin sensitivity was restricted to small babies, we were unable to reproduce this finding (p = 0.40), nor did we confirm a previous report of an association with gestational age (p = 0.23).
Despite a larger sample size than previous studies, we were unable to detect any effect of these variants on early growth. These findings do not support the notion that there are shared genetic determinants of low birthweight and adult diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Common variants of the gene encoding transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) have a powerful effect on individual risk of type 2 diabetes (per allele odds ratio approximately 1.35). Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes are familial conditions sharing common features. Based on this, the aim of the present study was to establish whether variation in TCF7L2 also influences the development of PCOS.
We conducted a genetic association study of variants of TCF7L2 (rs7903146 and rs12255372) using both case-control and quantitative trait approaches. Case-control analyses were conducted in (1) 369 PCOS cases and 2574 controls of UK British/Irish origin, and (2) 540 women with PCOS symptoms and 1083 controls from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966. Quantitative trait analyses (androgen levels) were also performed (1249 individuals).
There was no association between rs7903146 and PCOS in the UK case-control study (Cochran-Armitage test, p = 0.51); nor with symptomatic status in the Finnish cohort (p = 0.36). In addition, there were no relationships between the TCF7L2 single nucleotide polymorphism rs7903146 and androgen levels (UK cases, p = 0.99; Finnish controls, p = 0.57; Finnish symptomatic cases, p = 0.80). Results at rs12255372 were similar, reflecting strong linkage disequilibrium with rs7903146.
Our study was powered to detect an effect on PCOS susceptibility similar to that previously reported for these variants on type 2 diabetes. Failure to detect any evident association with PCOS provides the strongest evidence yet that the genetic architecture of these related conditions is qualitatively distinct.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Poor ovarian and endometrial responses to gonadotrophin stimulation in assisted reproduction techniques lead to decreased pregnancy rates. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that low-dose aspirin started prior to controlled ovarian stimulation improves ovarian responsiveness, pregnancy rate (PR) and pregnancy outcome.
A total of 374 women who were to undergo IVF/ICSI were randomized to receive 100 mg of aspirin (n=186) or placebo (n=188) daily. Treatment was started on the first day of controlled ovarian stimulation. It was continued until menstruation or a negative pregnancy test. Pregnant women continued the medication until delivery. The main outcome measures were the number of oocytes, number and quality of embryos, the clinical PR and pregnancy outcome.
The mean (+/-SD) number of oocytes (12.0+/-7.0 versus 12.7+/-7.2), the total mean number of embryos (5.82+/-4.35 versus 5.99+/-4.66), the mean number of top quality embryos (0.99+/-1.39 versus 1.18+/-1.51) and the number of embryos transferred (1.64+/-0.64 versus 1.63+/-0.71) did not differ in the aspirin and placebo groups. Between the aspirin and placebo group, there was no statistically significant difference in clinical PR per embryo transfer (25.3%, n=44 out of 174 versus 27.4%, n=48 out of 175) or clinical PR per cycle initiated (23.7% versus 25.5%). Birth rate per embryo transfer did not differ significantly between the aspirin (18.4%) and placebo (21.1%) groups. The incidence of poor responders [12 (6.5%) versus 13 (6.9%)] was similar in both groups.
The present results indicate that low-dose aspirin treatment does not have any beneficial effect on ovarian responsiveness, PR and pregnancy outcome in unselected women undergoing IVF/ICSI.
Human Reproduction 09/2005; 20(8):2211-4. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The zona pellucida (ZP) has multiple roles in reproductive processes, including oocyte maturation, fertilization and implantation. We used, for the first time, a genetic approach to study whether human ZP genes possess structural alterations in women with unsuccessful IVF trials. In theory, this may result in gradual reduction of sperm-zona interaction and eventually in total fertilization failure (TFF).
Eighteen infertile women (TFFs) whose IVF did not result in any fertilized oocytes, whereas fertilization by ICSI was successful, were screened for mutations in ZP genes by means of conformation-sensitive gel electrophoresis. Twenty-three fertilizers in IVF (FIVFs) and 68 women with proven fertility (WPFs) constituted the two control groups.
Altogether, 20 sequence variations were found in the ZP genes. Two variations in ZP3, one in the regulatory region (c. 1-87 T --> G) and one in exon 6 [c. 894 G --> A (p. K298)] existed more frequently in TFFs than in FIVF and WPF groups (P-values 0.027 and 0.008, respectively).
Our study on ZP genes of infertile women revealed a high degree of sequence variations. This may reflect gradual reduction of fertility among TFFs, but the putative roles and influences of single variations can only be hypothesized.
Human Reproduction 06/2005; 20(6):1578-85. · 4.67 Impact Factor