Definition - What does Adverse Outcome mean?
An adverse outcome in a fertility-related procedure is a harmful event that happens to the fetus or the mother during pregnancy or childbirth. Infertility itself is associated with an increase in the chances of an adverse outcome in subsequent pregnancies. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ovulation induction are widely used to treat individuals who are otherwise unable to achieve their reproductive goals, but the use of ART is thought to potentially increase the risk of adverse outcomes such as fetal growth restriction during intrauterine life, premature childbirth, low birth weight and congenital abnormalities.
FertilitySmarts explains Adverse Outcome
The failure of assisted reproductive technologies is the most worrisome adverse outcome for individuals experiencing infertility. IVF cycles can fail to develop a healthy embryo, or there can be abnormal implantation leading to miscarriage or stillbirth.
When IVF leads to successful conception, it can still lead to adverse outcomes in the fetus like birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, low birth weight, growth restriction and placental insufficiency. IVF can also increase the risk of maternal adverse outcomes such as gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia.
The maternal age at which fertility treatment is used also plays a role in the development of adverse outcomes. One Study has shown that the use of ART in advanced maternal age (AMA) is associated with an increased risk of restriction of fetal growth and preterm deliveries compared to women who conceive naturally at around the same age.
It is possible that ART may increase the risk of cancer. A meta-analysis of studies has been able to identify an association between the risk of childhood cancer in children who are born with the help of fertility treatment.