Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
An important study revealing the risks of IVF pregnancies has surfaced. When I first opened this article,
I was surprised to read that it had originally been presented at the
annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in
2017, but it doesn’t seem like fertility doctors even paused to consider
its findings. More and more women are becoming pregnant through IVF
using either their own or donor eggs, but I don’t think they fully
understand the risks they create for themselves or their unborn babies.
and scientists looked at pregnancy and delivery outcomes of six types
of pregnancies over eight states. The first group was ‘fertile’ women
(women who became pregnant without IVF or any other fertility
treatment). The second group of women were ‘subfertile,’ meaning that
they did not undergo IVF, but did use another type of treatment to
become pregnant. Each of the four remaining groups of women utilized IVF
to become pregnant, but varied in which egg they used. The IVF groups
were broken down into:
women that used their own fresh eggs for IVF
women that used their own thawed (previously frozen) eggs for IVF
women that used fresh donated (from another woman) eggs
women that used thawed (previously frozen) donor eggs for IVF donor
understand that keeping track of these groups can be confusing, but
it’s important if you want to understand the results, so I drew out a
schematic (the boxes in green are the final six groups of women).
The study population was huge. It included 1,477,522 pregnancies and births! Here’s what they found:
‘Subfertile’ and all four groups of IVF pregnancies had increased risk of blood transfusion at delivery.*
‘Subfertile’ and all four groups of IVF pregnancies had increased risk of 3rd or 4th degree lacerations at delivery.*
There was an increased risk for unplanned hysterectomy (removal of
the uterus) for three of the IVF groups (IVF pregnancies where mothers
thawed their own eggs, and IVF pregnancies from both fresh and thawed
donor eggs; or groups 4, 5, and 6).*
There was an increased risk for uterine rupture for moms that used their own, fresh egg for IVF (group 3).*
‘Subfertile’ women had highest rates of gestational diabetes, but all four IVF groups had higher rates of gestational diabetes when compared to the ‘fertile’ group.
Pregnancies from IVF with donor eggs (either fresh or frozen –
groups 5 and 6) had the highest rates of pregestational and gestational
hypertension (high blood pressure).
Fertile women were the most likely to successfully deliver vaginally.
NICU (neonatal ICU) admissions were higher in all fertility
treatment groups (‘subfertile’ and all IVF) when compared to ‘fertile’
IVF using donor eggs (either fresh or thawed) had the highest rates
of NICU admissions for the baby and intensive care (ICU) admissions for
*denotes statistically significant findings
study did not research or delineate the reason behind the increased
need for blood transfusions, hysterectomy, or the cause of any other
morbidity (such as lacerations and high blood pressure). However, they
did discuss (using data from other studies) possible reasons for these
outcomes. For example, women who get pregnant using IVF are more likely
to carry multiple babies. It is well known that carrying twins or
triplets puts the mother at greater risk for adverse outcomes due to
over-stretching of the uterus and altered placentation. Further, the
risk in cesarean section is increased for older women, the primary
targets of IVF and assisted reproductive technologies.
study did not explicitly state which pregnancies were surrogate
pregnancies, but we can assume that surrogate pregnancies would fall
into groups 3 and 4 for traditional surrogacy, and groups 5 and 6 for
gestational surrogacy. Therefore, this is yet another study that shows
us the dangers of surrogacy on exploited women. Regardless, the
conclusion is simple and obvious: the risk of severe maternal and
fetal morbidities (disease and symptoms of disease) are increased for
women that utilize IVF, especially those resulting from donor eggs. At the CBC, we often focus on the harms incurred by those that donate their eggs,
but it seems that egg donation is risky for everyone. Does
#BigFertility really care about women’s health, or do they only care
about the big money?