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Italian study published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynaecology this week suggesting a risk of premature births following IVF is seriously flawed

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Medical Directors from Virtus Health Australia’s largest fertility provider have reviewed the article which is a meta-analysis of cohort studies IVF/ICSI considering the spontaneous preterm birth in singleton pregnancies. This study is not consistent with a significant database of existing studies of IVF single embryo transfer where effects on preterm birth rate are very small.

“The Italian study is seriously flawed by having a very low baseline preterm birth risk in the control group (5%). If you compare the preterm birth rate in the IVF pregnancies with the normal Australian preterm birthrate (8%) the difference disappears,” said Peter Illingworth, Medical Director IVFAustralia.

“Also, although they were singleton births, they weren’t all single embryo transfers. In Australia it is standard practice across all fertility clinics to undertake single embryo transfers due to the leading medical and scientific practices in this country associated with IVF. We know that double embryo transfer with a resulting singleton birth is a higher risk.”

We encourage patients currently undergoing fertility treatment to discuss any concerns they have with their fertility specialist.

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