Are you planning on having a family using a gestational carrier?
New research from Fertility Centers of Illinois lends insight on what to expect and why couples should consult with high-risk obstetrical management and select a hospital close to home.
The study compared the outcomes of gestational carriers’ natural pregnancies against their pregnancies using embryos created from fertile male sperm and healthy donor eggs. The study sought to determine whether pregnancies using embryos created via IVF would result in increased perinatal complications compared to the same gestational carriers’ natural pregnancies.
All gestational carrier study participants carried pregnancies exclusively for same-sex male couples, but this research can apply to anyone seeking to grow a family via gestational carrier.
Study Results: Embryos created via IVF have an increased incidence of perinatal complications, 25 percent vs. 9.9 percent, including hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia, and a decrease in gestational age of 38.7 weeks vs. 39.4 weeks.
There was no significant difference in birth weight, preterm delivery, or mode of delivery. The study compared 151 cycles, including 80 commissioned cycles and 71 spontaneous cycles, among 66 gestational carriers.
Despite a confirmed healthy uterine environment, sperm sample, and donor eggs, the data suggests the use of assisted reproductive technology in IVF cycles may have an adverse effect on embryo quality.
Study author Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron views this information as a positive finding to help couples plan appropriately.
“The message of this study is not that IVF increases complications, it is that couples should select a gestational carrier near high-quality healthcare services, in closer proximity to their home, and go into this process aware of the potential added risks. Couples can get ahead of these risks by consulting with high-risk obstetrical management and delivering in a higher acuity hospital.”
Couples pursuing a child via gestational carrier has increased over the past five years, growing 18.75% among all couples and 182% among same-sex male couples at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
Medical contribution by Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, M.D.
Dr. Hirshfeld-Cytron is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and has been practicing medicine since 2004. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the University of Chicago, and then completed her three-year fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Northwestern.