May 30, 2024

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IVF Mothers Face 66% Higher Stroke Risk Postpartum

IVF Mothers Face 66% Higher Stroke Risk Postpartum


Women who give birth after undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures face a 66% higher risk of suffering a stroke one year postpartum, according to researchers at Rutgers University.

Furthermore, these women are twice as likely to experience the more severe hemorrhagic strokes.

A study has revealed that women who conceive through fertility treatments are more susceptible to strokes compared to those who conceive naturally.

Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey tracked 30 million pregnancies, including nearly 300,000 involving IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI) fertility treatments. They found that women who conceived through these treatments had a 66% higher likelihood of experiencing a stroke within one year of giving birth.

When it came to hemorrhagic strokes, which involve bleeding in the brain, their risk was doubled, while the risk of ischemic strokes, caused by blood clots cutting off blood supply to parts of the brain, was increased by 55%. Stroke is the leading cause of maternal mortality, attributed to the stress pregnancy places on the body, with approximately 30 out of every 100,000 postpartum women suffering a stroke within a year.

The reasons for the elevated risk in women receiving fertility treatments are not yet clear, but researchers suggest it might be due to the hormonal treatments necessary for these procedures and the higher risk of placental implantation issues.


IVF Mothers Face 66% Higher Stroke Risk Postpartum

Graphic shows increased risk of stroke in women undergoing IVF


The number of women conceiving through IVF or IUI continues to rise as more individuals in the United States delay starting families until later in life. Official data reveals that a record number of women in their 40s are giving birth amid an ongoing decline in birth rates.

IVF is one of several fertility treatments available for pregnancy. During the process, eggs are extracted from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then implanted in the woman’s uterus for development.

IUI involves injecting sperm directly into the uterus.

During these treatments, patients are administered estrogen to stimulate egg release, known as ovulation, and promote the growth and maintenance of the uterine lining.

Elevated levels of estrogen, potentially much higher than natural levels, can lead to damage to the inner walls of blood vessels, increased levels of clotting factors in the blood, and a higher risk of stroke.

In addition to stroke, women receiving IVF are also at a higher risk of placental ischemia when the placenta is too small or fails to properly attach to the uterine lining.

Scientists suggest that this may increase stroke risk by triggering high blood pressure as the body attempts to deliver more blood and nutrients to the uterus, resulting in heightened inflammation due to stress and an increase in clotting factors to prevent excessive bleeding.

Researchers also point out that women undergoing fertility treatments may have other potential health risks, such as obesity, smoking, or alcohol consumption, all of which can complicate natural conception.

Age is also considered a factor. Although the average age of women using IVF in the study was 32, below the threshold for increased risk at 35, it was higher than the age of women in the “spontaneous conception” group, who averaged 27.

Scientists state that strokes occur after pregnancy due to the drop in blood pressure as the body returns to its pre-pregnancy state.

In this study published in JAMA Network Open on Wednesday, researchers observed 30 million pregnant women in a national readmission database, which stored patient data and whether they were readmitted to hospitals in 28 U.S. states.

They reviewed records of over 31 million women who gave birth between 2010 and 2018.

Among the pregnant women in the study, 287,000—less than one percent—had received fertility treatments to become pregnant.

The data showed that those receiving fertility treatments had a rate of 37 readmissions per 100,000 women within 12 months.

For those who conceived naturally, this rate dropped to 29 per 100,000 women.

Further analysis, adjusting for factors like maternal age, multiple pregnancies, hospital type, and income, revealed that women undergoing fertility treatments faced a 66% higher risk.

Among women receiving treatment, 52 were hospitalized for hemorrhagic strokes (18 per 100,000 women).

In contrast, among those who conceived naturally, 3,791 were hospitalized for hemorrhagic strokes (12 per 100,000 women).

Details about the number of children each woman had and whether those receiving fertility treatments were experiencing their first pregnancy or subsequent pregnancies were not recorded.

(source:internet, reference only)

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.