Racial Gaps in Outcomes Larger for Infants Conceived by ART

Racial/ethnic disparities in adverse birth outcomes, such as neonatal mortality, are more significant among women who conceive by medically assisted reproduction.

Women who conceive by medically assisted reproduction (MAR) have more considerable racial/ethnic disparities in adverse birth outcomes, such as neonatal and fetal death, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

Sarka Lisonkova, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study using data on all 7,545,805 singleton births in the United States in 2016 to 2017.

Differences in the association between maternal race/ethnicity and adverse birth outcomes, including neonatal and fetal death, preterm birth, and serious neonatal morbidity, were examined among women who conceived spontaneously and those who used MAR, including assisted reproduction technology (ART).

Overall, 1.3 percent of singletons were conceived with MAR. The researchers found that infants of non-Hispanic Black versus non-Hispanic White women had almost twofold higher neonatal mortality in the spontaneous conception group (adjusted rate ratio [ARR], 1.9) and more than fourfold higher neonatal mortality in the ART-conception group (ARR, 4.1).

With respect to preterm birth (<34 weeks) and perinatal mortality, racial/ethnic disparities between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White women were significantly larger among those who conceived using MAR.

“Future research should focus on identifying vulnerable women using risk factor and treatment information in order to improve management and outcomes for this high-risk subpopulation,” the authors write.

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