According to the current issue of the Human Reproduction, researchers have established the first direct evidence linking artificial reproductive techniques , like in-vitro fertilization and Placenta Previa, a potentially dangerous complication of pregnancy.
Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix either partially or completely, thereby preventing the baby's passage in the birth canal.
This could produce life-threatening complications during delivery like hemorrhage and lead to prematurity and perinatal complications in the newborn babies.
This finding has been documented after a study in Norway of more than 845,300 pregnancies during the period between 1988 and 2002 .It concluded that mothers with single-baby pregnancies conceived through assisted reproductive techniques (ART) had a six fold higher risk of placenta previa, compared with natural conception. Mothers who conceived both naturally and through ART had a threefold increased risk.
According to study author, Dr. Liv Bente Romundstad, department of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Olavs University Hospital in Trondheim, "What this means in absolute terms is that, after adjusting for factors such as maternal age, which tends to be higher in ART pregnancies, the risk of placenta previa rose from about three in 1,000 births to 16 in 1,000 births for ART pregnancies compared with the general population,". Risk for placenta previa rose "from about seven in 1,000 births to 20 in 1,000 births for those who had both assisted and natural conceptions," she added.
The Norwegian researchers claim that this study has been the most extensively done than the previous findings and that it is the first to indicate a direct link.
"Although the risk of placenta previa is considerably higher with ART, it is still quite rare, which means it will probably take several thousand pregnancies to get sufficient data to be able to make any definite recommendations about clinical practice," Romundstad said.
Due to the rarity of this link and requirement of more data to establish this finding, the researchers are calling on ART centers worldwide to collect more data on the potential problem.